Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 2013

I wasn't a very good blogger this summer...that must have meant we were having fun, right?  Gracie did have a good summer.  There were a lot of fun events at daycare and on the weekend the most requested activity was "Water Day at Gracie's House", which consisted of putting out the sprinklers or the pool.

Here it is September already.  Gracie is officially a kindergartener!!!  She splits her days between being with her kindergarten class and the special education room.  Gracie does have a one-on-one para-professional to support her and I think that is key to her safety and her successes.  She is doing so good in the kindergarten room, that she spends most of her day there.  She spends her afternoons at daycare and is making some new friends, as all her former daycare mates left with the start of kindergarten.

September has proven to be a difficult month for our family.  Gracie's Grandpa B. (my dad) had a massive stroke, was airlifted to the hospital, where he stayed a week until his passing on September 11th.  Jeff was in Chicago for work at the time, so we had him fly back a few days early and I spent most of my days and some nights at the hospital.  While daddy took very good care of Gracie, her routine was messed with and that's not a good thing.  Gracie also struggled and still struggles to understand that Grandpa isn't coming back and she can't see him.  So we are working to support her as best we can.

Gracie has a nasty cold and her asthma symptoms are back with it.  The albuterol is helping, but not fast enough for my liking.  I was pretty close to taking her to the E.R. this morning.  We'll see what tonight brings as it always seems worse at night.

Gracie continues to grow....I can't keep the girl in shoes and clothes.  She is now in size 14 tops, some bottoms too...but mostly 12 bottoms.  Size 4 shoes.  As she grows it gets harder and harder to find her age appropriate clothing as most kids in this size are much older.

We decorated our house for Halloween...Gracie LOVES Halloween.  She loves the pumpkins and the skeletons, but the most popular item is a Frankenstein window cling.  I think October will be a fun month in anticipation of Halloween.

I'll try to be better about updating.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie the Kindergartener

Friday, June 7, 2013

School's Out For Summer!!!

Here are a few highlights of what's been happening the last month:

  • First and foremost, after many meetings and much discussion, we signed Gracie's IEP (Individualized Education Plan) on her last day of school - June 6th.  I'm happy to report that Gracie will have a one-on-one para-professional with her daily as she attends Kindergartener.  I so appreciate the school team that came together with us to make it happen.  I firmly believe that this will help keep Gracie safer at school next against those tree nut oils/proteins that could be lurking everywhere.
  • We had a nasty allergic reaction that was the result of petting a dog and then rubbing her eye before we could get her hands washed.  Not only did her eye swell almost closed, we had to deal with asthma-like breathing issues for the next few days after that.  We did visit a pediatrician for that and they are starting to think an asthma diagnosis is in her future.  I hope they are wrong.  
  • On Gracie's last day of school (yesterday) we took her to the zoo!  She had a blast...she loved the giraffes, the fish, the otters, and of course the monorail.  She loved being outside too.  It was a cool day, but that is perfect for her.  
  • Gracie's days at daycare are awesome again.  Her new teacher is in place and has been well-received.  Unfortunately many of her friends have "graduated" and are leaving...her two bestest friends last day was yesterday.  She does have some fun kids moving up to her class though, so hopefully she'll make some new friends easily.
Enjoy June...and hopefully we'll get a break from the rain soon.

Lisa, Jeff, and Preschool Graduate Gracie

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 2013 Update

We are mid-way through May and the theme of this month has been time outdoors, whether it has been needing snowboots (for the big 15-1/2 inches of snow we got on May 2nd) or puddle stomping in our tennis shoes, or hanging out in shorts and tank tops once the temps got warmer.   Gracie loves to be outside.  Here are a few highlights from May:

  • Gracie's most frequent request, other than to play outside, is to eat on the deck.  So we've been having a lot of our meals there.  She is happy as a lark.
  • Gracie's neurology appointment was very positive, she is now 67 lbs, and just a little over 4 feet tall.  Even though her weight has increased, we've decided not to increase her seizure meds.  She hasn't had any breakthrough seizures for almost 2 years now that she is on brand name meds, so we are hoping we can lower the percentage of med to body weight.  This is good news for us our out of pocket for Gracie's seizure meds went up from $3500.00 to $4500.00 this year for a mere 100 day supply.  Any increase's mean our out of pocket increases.  Silly insurance company still won't recognize her need for namebrand, so we get to pay the amount over what they would pay for generic.  
  • We still don't have resolution regarding the wording on Gracie's IEP for avoidance of nuts at school for next year.  We had a very productive meeting with key members at school.  We presented our concerns to the Special Education director and asked for a one-on-one paraprofessional for Gracie for next year.  Her allergy is with ingestion and contact and she is still so very oral...she puts everything, including her fingers in her mouth.  She'll be exposed to so many more locations at school next year that many involved feel like it's a wise decision to have one para assigned to her to keep her safe and recognize any potential allergy issues quickly.  We are still waiting on a decision to be made.
  • Gracie got a new tricycle...this is not any ordinary tricycle as she is way too big for a kid's trike...this is a Trike-Zilla (I'll have to take a picture of Gracie riding it and post it in the near future).  It will accommodate to 300 lbs and 5'8".  Jeff presented it to her while I was gone and she was none-to-thrilled.  Now that she is used to it, she loves it.  We're still working on being able to ride it independently.  She can't pedal if there is any type of incline....just doesn't have the muscle power yet.  We also have to work on her steering...she is all over the place.  I have a feeling by the end of the summer she'll be a pro.
  • Gracie was having a tough time at daycare for a couple of weeks.  She was very possessive of a beloved teacher.  She would scratch, pull hair, etc. of said teacher and anyone who wanted to talk to her, including her classmates, especially during outside time.  This teacher is taking on the assistant director role at Gracie's daycare.  We suspect that she sensed there was something going on...since we've been able to talk with her about that, she has been so much better.  The kid is a smart little cookie, she just can't verbalize all the emotions and questions she is processing.  
  • Grandma & Grandpa D have made their way to our city for the summer, so Gracie has been enjoying their visits.  
  • Gracie also got to visit Grandma & Grandpa B on Mother's Day...that was great fun also.  She had lots of cousins, aunts, and uncles there to give her attention also.  
  • Gracie had a cold recently, it was pretty short lived, but her cough continues.  The cough sounds productive, but it takes her breath away when it comes and it sounds horrible.  I was contemplating taking her to the doctor, but I was hesitating because I fear she'll pick up yet another virus.  She coughs and coughs, but nothing seems to come up...until today.  She is sitting at the computer looking at pictures as I'm getting ready for work.  She has a coughing attack and pretty soon I hear her say "Uh-oh!"  I apparently didn't respond quickly enough...soon a very urgently said "Uh-oh mom!"   I walk out into the living room and she is covered in phlegm.  It's on her hand, it's all over her pants to the point that we had to change them.  It's everywhere!  I'm hoping this might be the end of that silly cough.  (And yes Arlan, this story was for you!)
  • Gracie only has 7 more days of school left...where did the school year go.  Daycare has a ton of fun activities planned, so I think she is going to have a fun summer.
I hope May has treated you well.

Lisa, Jeff, and Trike-Zilla riding Gracie

Monday, April 15, 2013

March & April Update

How did March get past me without an update on our ever sweet, ever growing, ever hilarious Miss Grace?   Here are a few highlights:

  • March was a very healthy month for Gracie.  April, not quite as much.  An upper respiratory virus sent us to the E.R. as Gracie was having very labored breathing and wheezing.  She presented with asthma type symptoms.  We ruled out pneumonia.  After a nebulizing treatment she started breathing a whole lot better.  They sent us home with an inhaler of albuteral.  They should have warned us that giving this to Gracie was like giving her speed.   She hardly slept for two nights.  She wanted to, but was so restless, she just couldn't stop moving.  I bounced her (not so easy anymore now that she is 65 pounds - over half of my body weight), I rocked her, I just sat with her, and I did everything I could think of to comfort her.  Naps weren't heard of either.  Between Jeff and I taking turns giving her TLC, she spent all week minus one day at home.  Once the inhaler was no longer needed she had no energy and mostly just laid around playing with her ipad or listening to music.  
  • Easter was a huge hit for Gracie this year.  She was excited to see that "Santa Claus" had delivered an Easter basket full of goodies to her.  She spent the day at Grandma & Grandpa B's house and got spoiled by aunts, uncles, and cousins too.  The night before we went there, Gracie was tossing and turning and couldn't sleep.  I asked her what was wrong and was pleasantly surprised to hear her say "I'm so excited!"
  • Good News:  We submitted an exception request to the school board to keep Gracie at the school she is currently going to for kindergarten next year.  We are thrilled that the request was granted.
  • More Good News:  Gracie would have aged out of her current daycare next school year.  I was totally stressed out trying to find another daycare for her that could accommodate all her needs, not to mention all the love and support she gets at her current daycare.  Her current daycare got their licensed changed, so she can remain there next year as well.  I could have hugged the director for making this happen.  
  • We've been working on Gracie's IEP for's signed and ready to go...with the exception that there is a disagreement on how the wording is written for dealing with Gracie's tree nut allergy.  We are having a meeting at school on May 9th and I'm confident we'll come up with a resolution that all involved are happy with.  
  • Gracie has growing again, her pants are getting shorter on her....we have her routine Neurology appointment today, so we'll find out how much she has grown...which will undoubtedly mean an increase in meds.
  • Gracie is becoming more and more verbal.  I'm hearing 6 and 7 word sentences at times.  Usually when she doesn't want to do something or is being obstinate.  But hey, I don't mind, she's expressing herself with words, I'll take it.  
  • Gracie, the child who wanted nothing in bed with her but her blankie, has taken quite an attachment to a number of stuffed animals and pillows that absolutely have to go to bed with her.  There is hardly room for her in bed anymore.  She knows exactly which ones should be there and if one is missing, you better be prepared to tear apart the house to find it.
  • Gracie has also been more interested in her baby dolls lately.  It's fun to see her carrying them around.  This morning two of them had to ride in the car to daycare with us.
We're awaiting some spring weather so we can get outdoors.  The winter has been long and we are so ready for spring.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie Growing Girl

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 2013 Update

A lot has been going on in February for our sweet, ever growing Miss Grace, here are a few highlights:

  • The month started out with a crummy virus....fever, chills, vomiting, and no appetite for a week.  But other than that, she's been a very healthy girl...and happy!
  • We've started seeing a physical therapist at the clinic again.  We wanted some ideas on how to work on Gracie's leg strength.  We have a new physical therapist that we love (we loved our old one too) who is really great about working with us and understanding that Gracie has a very short attention span and she understands that it has to be fun and motivating to get her to do it.  Gracie loves to see her because as Gracie "want to exercise"!
  • Gracie absolutely LOVED everything about Valentine's Day.  She got to hand out little stuffed owls to her classmates at daycare and school.  (As most of you know, Gracie LOVES owls!)  She loved getting cards and small gifts from her classmates and friends.  We took "nut free" pink and red decorated cupcakes to school for her Valentine's Day party there.  She got to wear her blue Minnie Mouse shirt, with the word "LOVE" in pink.  That was a hit also.  We made heart shaped pizzas for supper...another highlight.  Gracie came home from daycare that day, burst in the door with the biggest smile on her face and a very excited "Happy Valentine's Day, Mom!"  That made my day...her smile and her verbal ability to say it.  She said it about a hundred times that night and even woke up at 1:00 a.m. to say it to me again.  I never tired of it.  I love Valentine's Day and Gracie's excitement made it double the fun.
  • We made a snowman in our front yard one rainy, snowy Sunday afternoon.  It was a big one...but an hour after we came in the house it crashed to it's demise. 
  • We had an appointment with Gracie's Developmental Pediatrician who was very pleased with her progress.  She's made about six months of developmental progress in the last year, which is pretty much the pace we've been seeing.  Most of her skills are in the 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 year old range, with some even going higher, and some of her fine motor skills being a bit lower.  Fine motor is definitely Gracie's biggest challenge. 
  • Gracie melted her mommy's heart this month (actually she does every month).  We were laying in bed together one night as she was starting to fall asleep.  She said "Mommy", I said "Yes?", she said "You're special."  Total heart melter.
  • The more helpful Gracie can be around the house...the happier she is!  I love how proud she gets of herself.  
  • We have a meeting with the school psychologist, occupational therapist, and her teacher next week.   We will get the results of the evaluation they are doing on Gracie which will tell us what school and kindergarten program she will be in next year.  I'm anxious to have this information.
We are hoping for a nice warm March so that we can get outdoors more.

We hope you are staying warm and having a great month!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Friday, January 25, 2013

Enjoying January in Good Health

Gracie has had a really good January healthwise.  Other than silly allergies making her eyes red and itchy, she's been a happy and healthy kid.  I knock on wood every time I say this, just hoping I don't jinx it. 

Gracie's verbal skills are exploding again.  Most thoughts are in sentences now...3 or 4 word sentences.  The notes we've been getting from daycare at the end of each day usually have something like "Another fabulous day!" on them.  Gracie really seems to enjoy daycare and the kids in her class are really good with her.  Gracie has been joining in on peer play too.  She's been playing with baby dolls with a few of the other girls.  The other day the kids were playing dinosaur and she chimed in "Gracie dinosaur too!"  She went stomping off with the dinosaur kids!  That night in the tub she informed me "Gabe was a T-Rex!"  That cracked me up, I didn't even know that "T-Rex" was on her radar. 

We had a home visit with Gracie's teacher from school.  Gracie gets very distracted at school from all the other activity, so it's difficult to get her to independently do things such as taking off her mittens and hat at locker time, etc.  Her teacher enjoyed seeing her at home as Gracie was talking a fair amount and they don't see that side of her at school.  She is very quiet there.  She is also quite the helper there.   Some of her classmates are wheelchair bound, so Gracie assists with pushing their chairs at times.

I signed Gracie up for kindergarten last week.  I'm having a hard time with that milestone.  We aren't quite sure where Gracie will go to kindergarten.  She is currently in the midst of an assessment being done by her current teacher and the school psychologist, both of whom I feel have her best interests at heart.  We'll get the results of the evaluation at the end of February and will more than likely know the plan at that time.  I am really hoping she gets to stay at the school she is currently going to, I really feel she needs the extra help and attention and that is the school that can give it to her.  Our home school seems like a good school too, but I just don't think the program there is specialized enough to meet Gracie's extra needs.  I'll wait patiently.

Gracie is a great helper, I'm finding that if I can have Gracie help with things at home, getting food out of the refrigerator, putting things away or getting things for me, she glows with pride.  Last night I was bringing the garbage receptacle up to the house and she grabbed the recycle one and was pulling that up with a smile on her face from ear to ear. 

We are not enjoying the January cold weather.  It's putting a crimp in our outdoor time.  We're hoping it warms up a bit soon.

Have a great weekend.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie the helper

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Weekend

On Friday we spent the day at the clinic for testing...allergy testing to see if Gracie is indeed allergic to amoxicillin and other antibiotics in the penicillin family.  Our first appointment was at 8:45 a.m. and our last appointment finished at 5:00 p.m.   It was a long day!!!  As always, Gracie was a trooper even through many pokes and injections.  She made some new friends and we got good news.  Gracie is NOT allergic to this group of we now have some options when she has an ear infection or other health issues requiring antibiotics. 

On Saturday we hung out at home.  Jeff's buddy Mitch came to visit that evening and Gracie took a while to warm up to him, but once she did, she plopped herself on his lap and was sad to see him leave.

On Sunday we played outside for most of the afternoon.  We did have to make a trip to Target to buy new snow pants as she had outgrown the pair we had at home and the other pair was left at daycare.  Gracie had a blast sliding down her snow-filled slide and making snow angels. 

She was a tired girl last night, but was awake bright and early at 5:00 a.m. this morning, ready to sing and I think she was anxious to go back to daycare...that is until we actually got there.  She was pretty sad looking when I left.  I'm hoping her day goes well.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  I am optimistic that 2013 will be a great year for Gracie.

Gracie made it through Christmas remaining healthy and happy!  It was such a fun Christmas.  Gracie picked out two cookies to put on a special snowman plate for Santa.  4 days later she insisted on putting another plate of cookies under the tree for Santa.  I'm not sure if she thought Santa was very hungry or if she thought she might get more presents.  Hmmmm.  This morning as we passed by a Walgreen's store on our way to work and daycare, Gracie informed me that Santa was "bye bye".  There had been some inflatable Santas in the window of the store.  I told her that he was indeed bye bye and that he had gone back to the North Pole to be with his reindeer.  She repeated that back to me and seemed to contemplate that for a bit and accepted what mommy had told her to be true.

So Santa brought Gracie a bounce house for Christmas.  What was Santa thinking?  It takes up half of our family room!!!  Gracie loves it though and I'm hoping it will get her to be a little more active this winter when it is too cold to go outside.

Gracie enjoyed spending time with my family on Christmas Day, Skyping with Grandma and Grandpa D the day after Christmas, and celebrating daddy's birthday on New Years Eve.

We also went forward with giving Gracie her DTaP vaccination on our Christmas vacation.  This is the vaccination that jump started her nasty seizure disorder (Infantile Spasms) at 15 months of age.  We talked with her neurologist and met with a pediatric physician that is an expert on vaccinations.  With their advice we proceeded with it.  She was VERY tired for three days afterward, but no real indications of any additional seizure activity.  Thank you God!

I'm attaching a few photos of Gracie's Christmas fun!!!! (Blog issues...the pictures are on the post below this one!)

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Christmas 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Healthy, Healthy, Healthy!

Do you know how much I love that "healthy" title of this post.  Gracie has had a great week and has been very healthy.  Healthy equals happy! 

On Monday we went to the dentist for her 6 month cleaning and to get a little fluoride applied.  She did quite well, although we did have tears when the noise of the water sucker (does it have an official name) came on and scared her.  She's not the best about brushing her's a constant struggle, so I was thrilled to hear there are no cavities.  Her dentist was thrilled to hear her thumb-sucking has reduced alot.  Daycare and school both report that they do not see her suck her thumb, until she sees me...than she wants her palm rubbed and her thumb goes into her mouth.  I guess it's a comfort thing.  She also starts out sucking her thumb to go to sleep, but it's very short-lived and doesn't go back in her mouth for the rest of the night. 

Gracie is very happy to have daddy home after his week long trip to Chicago for work.  Gracie is happiest when she has mommy and daddy at home...that's when life is good.

Gracie loves the sensory projects at daycare.  Yesterday they all painted their hands and then put them on the window of their classroom in the shape of a wreath.  It is so cute and Gracie loves to touch it now that it's dry.  She also noticed that her hands are much bigger than her classmates. 

Tomorrow (12/20) is a very exciting day for's the anniversary of Gracie's Adoption day.  Although she has been with us since the day she was born, this is the day that made it official...five years ago.  As I tell her "We always knew we were a family, but this is the day the judge said 'I now pronounce you a family!'"  That always makes her giggle.  We were going to make cupcakes to celebrate, but I found some sugar cookies with Mickey Mouse's face on them, so we might bake those instead. 

Have a great week.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sick, Sick, and More Sick

It's been a rough December for Gracie when it comes to health.  On Thursday evening (12/6/12) we rushed Gracie to the E.R. as she was shaking uncontrollably and was having labored breathing.  I took her temperature before we left and it was the time we got to the E.R. it was over 103 degrees.  Our suspicions of another bout of pneumonia were confirmed.  It took over 4 hours and both ibuprofen and Tylenol to get her fever under control.  They contemplated hospitalizing her, but since we live so close to the ER we assured them we would bring her back if we had any concerns.  They sent us to the pharmacy for some antibiotics and home we went. 

All weekend Gracie was well enough to be stir crazy, but not well enough to really do anything.  On Sunday we had a beautiful snowfall and I did let her go outside for a very short time.  That seemed to help lift her spirits immensely. 

On Monday (12/10) afternoon I got a call from a follow-up nurse at the E.R. to let me know that the urine culture they took on Thursday night showed that Gracie also had a urinary tract infection.  We were advised to stop her current antibiotic (we only had one dose left) and to begin a 10-day course of a sulpha antibiotic (Bactrim).  We started that on Monday night.  By Tuesday night Gracie had an incredibly red and blistery diaper area.  I took her into see the doctor on Wednesday morning...I suspected a yeast infection and I was correct.  We got a prescription cream to put on it and that seems to be helping nicely.  Although on Wednesday night, Gracies bottom, legs, and a few other spots were covered in hives.  I stopped the Bactrim and gave her Benadryl.  That seemed to resolve the hives and she got to go to school today.  Needless to say, I touched base with her pediatrician this morning and we are headed back to the Allergy Clinic for more testing. 

On Monday, we also had Gracie's routine (every 4 months) appointment with her neurologist.  Everything looks good there and we will do a seizure med increase just due to her size.  Gracie treated Dr. N. to renditions of "Humpty Dumpty", "Tootie Ta", and another song I can't remember.  She was quite enamored with Dr. N.'s male resident as well and had to give him a big hug. 

I'm hoping for a quiet weekend to just hang out.  I have to help Santa wrap some presents too!!!

Have a great week...and if you have any extra prayers for Gracie's health, we would be so appreciative.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Our Thanksgiving didn't quite turn out as planned.  Gracie spiked a fever in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning.  When she woke up, she went to say hello to her dad and vomited and then the diarrhea started.  She also had an upper respiratory virus with congestion and a nasty cough.  So we were very sad to have missed Thanksgiving with my family (we were also celebrating my dad's 90th birthday), but we made the best of it and enjoyed the day with just the three of us.  I did make some turkey breasts, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing.  Gracie invited Dora the Explorer, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse to lunch.  She was happy to sit at the table and pray with us.  Gracie LOVES to say the prayer before meal.  Not surprisingly, she didn't want any food. 

On the Friday after Thanksgiving we put up our Christmas tree and Gracie thoroughly enjoyed helping.  She is so excited about all the lights, decorations, and Christmas music.  I just love to see her excitement.  She also was excited to watch "Frosty the Snowman" on TV.  This was a first for her, as in previous years she didn't have the attention span to sit through it.  She thoroughly enjoyed it this year. 

On Saturday Gracie was in one of the worst moods I've seen her in for a long, long time.  I think being sick and having to stay in the house was getting to her.  Sunday was a little better, but we still saw a few more tantrums than usual.

Gracie was very happy to see her friends a daycare on Monday and had a great day there.  Today she got to go to school too, so I think we'll have a tired girl tonight.

Have a great week.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Disney Live

We took Gracie to the DisneyLive show at the civic center on Saturday.  We didn't tell her where we were going, just said we were going to a party, so it was a complete surprise for her.  We had considered taking her in past years since she has a great love of Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie Mouse, but were afraid it would be too much for her from a sensory perspective.  This was the perfect year.  Once we arrived we explained it would be noisy and that people would scream, but they were all good screams and that she could scream to if she wanted to.  We also prepped her that the lights might go out, but mommy and daddy would always be right there.  IT WAS A HIT!!!!!  From the minute it started to the minute it ended Gracie was totally enamored!  The show was great, but I couldn't stop watching Gracie.  She was so excited.  She kept telling the lady sitting right next to her and Jeff (she sat on daddy's lap the whole time at her request):  "It's GOOFY!!!!  Goofy!!!!"  At the end she got to get up and danced around as they sang the last song and sent confetti flying everywhere.  She loved it. We did want her to sit on the stage for a picture, but she wanted NO part of that.  No complaints from us, she did so much better than we even anticipated.  We bought her a soft cover program with pictures of the cast and the characters.  She held that book as if it was gold and she has looked through it so many times that it is starting to fall apart.  Not due to abuse...just lots of use!  She is still talking about Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, and Donald!

Gracie has another cold virus of some sort.  She was running a low grade fever last night, then the chills hit, her nose is running, and she has a cough with it too.  Doesn't seem to be serious, just something that has run her down.  She is home with daddy today.  We're hoping she'll be healthy on Thanksgiving so we can spend some time with family.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm off to find my most stretchy pair of pants! 

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 2012

A few highlights for the last month:

  • Gracie enjoyed Halloween this year and trick-or-treating.  Although she was a very tired butterfly fairy before she ever started her journey through the neighborhood.  At 6:00 p.m. she informed me that she wanted to "do a bed dive".  This is her way of telling us she wants to go to bed, because we make bedtime fun by each taking a dive onto Gracie's mattress on the floor.  At 6:05 p.m. as I got her costume out, she told me "I don't want to".  But by the time we sent her on her way out the door with daddy to go house to house for treats, she was having fun.  A special thanks to our neighbors that checked in with us or were prepared with non-tree nut treats for Gracie's arrival.  That meant alot to us.  As for the other treats that weren't Gracie safe, we did a switcheroo with safe treats for Gracie without her even knowing!
  • The weekend after Halloween was an extra special treat for Gracie and our family.  We traveled out of town for a long weekend to attend Gracie's cousin Julie's wedding.  (Congratulations Julie and Brian -- we were thrilled to be part of your special day!)  We got the privilege of taking Grandma & Grandpa B. along and our hotel rooms were adjoined, so Gracie got some great quality time with G&G.  She also had a great time at the wedding seeing all of her cousins and she did really good through the ceremony as well.  She loved the music and would pick up a hymnal whenever the music started and would start to sing.  She didn't know most of the words, but she still shared her beautiful voice with us.  She also had fun waving to daddy across the church while he videotaped the ceremony.  The dance was an extra special treat for Gracie, although it was short-lived as Gracie was very tired and started coming down with a cold.  We try not to let her get too overtired as she's not so nice when she is tired, not to mention that seizure breakthrough is always a possibility were not willing to risk.  
  • Gracie's had a cold all last week, into this week.  She's felt pretty miserable, but it's been nothing more than your basic head cold...that is until she started pulling at her ears.  I took her in to see "Dr. Lisa", which Gracie thought was quite funny because she knows I am "Mommy Lisa".  Gracie was good as gold as Dr. Lisa checked her out.  I was surprised to find out she did not have an ear infection, but she did have a retracted ear drum.  There is nothing they can do for this, it has to pop back on it's own, but I'm told it can be more painful than an ear infection.
  •  The neighbors have an inflatable snowman, as well as an inflatable Christmas tree with a deer and some other animals in their front yard.  Gracie LOVES this and gets so excited when they are inflated in the evening.  They have some fun colorful lights too and she is so into it.  We've also been singing fun Christmas Carols on our way to work in the morning.  I'm amazed at how many she knows the words too.  I think this holiday season is going to be a fun one.  
Have a great week!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie the Caroler

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

It was a beautiful Fall weekend.  Saturday started out rainy, so we spent our morning just hanging out and getting some house things done...laundry, a little baking, and a little cleaning (very little).  Since Gracie can't have donuts due to her food allergies (pretty much every commercial donut is made in a facility that uses tree nuts), we bought a Babycakes mini donut maker.  We tried that out on Saturday morning.  She was so excited about it!  She was right there helping me every step of the way.  But when it came time to actually eat the donuts, I don't think she was all that impressed.  Jeff and I thought they were pretty good though. 

On Sunday we went to the pumpkin patch and apple orchard.  Gracie had a great time.  I think the highlight for her was the tractor pulled wagon ride.  She didn't want to sit down.  She stood for the whole ride, holding on for dear life and the bumpier the ride, the happier she was.  At one point she said to me:  "It's a party!"  She also said "This is fun!" 

We also ran into some former daycare friends at the pumpkin patch, so it was fun to see them.  Although Gracie seemed a little reserved, even though I know she loved hanging out with these kids. 

We got three for dad, one for mom, and a smaller one for Gracie.  She especially likes that one because she can carry it around.  She found it hilarious when she accidentally dropped it and it rolled all the way down our driveway and into the street and I had to go rescue it.  She giggled the whole time it rolled.

The rest of our afternoon was spent outside enjoying the day.  Gracie slept so well last night.  I think all of the fresh air was so good for her.

Have a great week!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie-the pumpkin roller

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Crazy Month

It's been a crazy month, here are a few hightlights:

  • Gracie had yet another ambulance ride to the E.R.  I went to an apple tasting party with her at daycare.  She was very snuggly with another mother there who had beautiful long black hair.  Gracie kept touching it.  I didn't think to wash her hands (why I didn't think to, I don't know - because I know so many shampoos have nut oils in them).  On the way home I could tell something was not right.  By the time we got in the house, she was having problems breathing and had the hacky cough that comes with an allergic reaction.  So I injected her with epinephrine and called 911.  So Gracie and mommy headed in the ambulance to the hospital.  Daddy followed a few minutes later.  
  • While at the hospital for her allergic reaction, she spiked a fever.  A fever that lasted 10 days.  We are not sure what caused it, we believe it was viral, but she had us worried, because her only other symptoms were loose stools, no appetite, and no energy.  
  • Gracie has started with the Special Olympics Young Athlete's Program.  I think Jeff described it as organized chaos.  We all love it.  There is unconditional acceptance of all levels of abilities and everyone is so positive and enthusiastic.  
  • Gracie is really enjoying the Halloween decorations in our neighborhood.  The house directly across the street has gone all out with decorations and Gracie gets excited with each new thing that is put out.  They do have a lit up spiderweb on their house that Gracie insists is a stingray.  It is sort of shaped like one, so I can see where she is coming from.  They also have tombstones all over their yard and Gracie informed me they were "rip".  I have no clue how she knows "rip".  
  • Gracie helped Jeff and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary this week.  In the morning she insisted on a group hug.  Gracie and daddy made some flowers and a vase out of foam for mommy.  They are so cute.  (We are finding that Gracie is allergic to alot of flowers, so don't feel comfortable having fresh flowers in our house.)  We also had take out from Olive should have seen her eat!!!!  I don't know where she put it all.  Then we had a dance party in our living room.  It was a great way to celebrate.
We are hoping to make it to the pumpkin patch this weekend.  We need some pumpkins to make our house look festive.

Have a great weekend!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Friday, September 28, 2012

Another Ambulance Ride

Has it really been two weeks since I've posted.  I guess that means we've been busy!  Gracie has been learning so much and has been using the word "yes" alot.  I love that.   Jeff traveled to Chicago for work for 4 days earlier this week and Gracie definitely misses him when he is gone.  Her favorite phrase when he is away is "I want to see Daddy!"  On the final day of him being gone, she was asking for him alot.  Very nicely I said to her "Can I have a different word?"  And very sweetly she looked up at me and said "Please!" 

On Sunday, I took Gracie to her school for a fundraising event for a new playground.  They had inflatables and a big bounce house.  Much to my amazement, Gracie ran right up to it and wanted to go in.  She has always been scared of them.  I was so proud of her bravery, but it about broke my heart to see her in it.  She never could gain enough strength and balance to stand up.  Every time she would just about get up, another child would bounce and she would lose her balance and fall.   Then we headed to the Zumba dance instructors who were awesome with Gracie.  So she danced for quite a while.  Then she got to meet Chuck E. Cheese.  Another great highlight for her.

On Monday, Gracie had helped out in the daycare garden and when I picked her up her cheeks were blaze red with a definite allergic reaction and some blistery welty type marks on her cheeks.  They were definitely swollen too.  We suspect her allergy to mold might be the culprit.  I took her home, washed her up and gave her some Claritin.  By morning, she was looking much better. 

On Tuesday, I took her to daycare and she got on the bus as usual, by the end of her bus ride she started going into an anaphylaxis allergic reaction.  Gracie's emergency plan was followed, an epi pen was administered, the ambulance called, and by the time she made it to the E.R. she was cool and calm and doing well.  We'll never know for sure what caused the anaphylaxis, but we suspect it was a delayed reaction from the garden mold the day before.  Or she could be sensitive to a plant that she touched too...she breaks out from both dandelions and mums, so it would stand to reason that there are more plants that cause problems for her.

So Gracie and spent the next 6 hours in the E.R. - which is standard practice as allergic reactions many times go in waves.  She was given some steroids that help with that and we actually got to leave a little bit earlier because she needed seizure meds and they didn't have what she needed.  I stayed home with Gracie on Wednesday just to monitor for any allergy returns.  We still see a little bit in her cheeks, but have a prescription for another dose of steroids should we need it.

Gracie was thrilled that daddy returned home on Wednesday.  He brought her a stuffed Goofy from Mickey Mouse.  I wish I would have had the video camera handy...I've never seen her so excited.  She LOVES Goofy!!!!

Gracie had a great day at school yesterday and was in the best of moods this morning.  I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Friday, September 14, 2012

To Vaccinate...Or Not to Vaccinate?

Gracie had her 5 year old well child visit with her pediatrician yesterday.  She is a healthy girl and was sooooo cooperative!!!!  The two questions on our mind:

  • A referral to see the Speech Pathologist.  She wanted to see us back before the school year started, but we can't just call and make an appointment.  Each time there needs to be a referral from pediatrics.  So we'll be meeting with her on October 30th.
  • Vaccinations:  Gracie is currently up-to-date and compliant with her vaccinations.  I'm very pro-vaccination, however prior to age 6 we need to have quite a few vaccinations take place.  One of them being the Dtap vaccination....part of this vaccination is for pertussis (whooping cough).  There is currently a large number of cases of whooping cough in our community and surrounding communities.  Our hesitation for having her vaccinated goes back to her last Dtap vaccination at age 15 months old.  We had just found out that Gracie had epilepsy, we had just started her on anti-epileptic meds, seizures were not well controlled at that point and she had her 15 month vaccinations, and then came the on-set of INFANTILE intractable seizure disorder that changed our world.  3 months later we finally beat the I.S. monster using large doses of steroids and a non-FDA approved medication that we had to have sent in from Canada.  Gracie's weight ballooned, she became constantly irritable, and she experienced many milestone don't learn very easily when your having 60+ seizures a day.  Did the vaccination cause the seizure disorder???  Gracie was probably pre-disposed to I.S., but it is believed the vaccination set the I.S. in motion.  So what happens if we vaccinate her with this again???  We've had conversations with Gracie's neurologist who we trust immensely.  She feels that she would much rather treat the seizures than possible brain bleeds that could be the result of having whooping cough.  That certainly makes sense, but I'm not quite ready to go that route yet.  So I asked if we could have a consultation with the Department Chair for Pediatrics, who also specializes in Infectious Disease and is known as the resident expert regarding vaccinations.  Our pediatrician supported our request 100% and we are scheduled for an appointment in early December.  We would appreciate any prayers for guidance.
It was a cool evening last night and Gracie was having a blast playing outside on her playset and with her pretend lawn mower...can you really cut grass while mowing the deck?  Hmmmm.  This cool weather agrees with her.  She was so happy outside.  I just love to see it.

School and daycare continue to go great for Gracie this year.  She is really at a great age and I'm so incredibly amazed at how awesome her daycare friends are with her.  Just this morning we were surrounded by a group of young girls (3 & 4) that were giving her little letters and were chatting up a storm.  I seriously considered skipping work and playing with all of the sweet children at daycare.  I wonder if my boss would have noticed I was missing?  Mitch - Can I stay at daycare and play one of these days?  :)

Have a great weekend!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie Good Girl

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The School Year Has Begun

Gracie has had a fantastic couple of weeks!  She still has a bit of a cough from her pneumonia, but it has subsided greatly.  It's amazing what feeling healthy does for her mood.  She has been the happiest kid lately and so verbal too.  I accused Jeff of increasing her meds again, but he assures me he hasn't.  The other night she said a seven word sentence....she was laying on the floor and didn't want to go to bed.  I told it was time to go read books in bed (our nightly routine) and she told me "I don't want to read any books."  I think she was surprised by the big smile that came to my face as I counted out the words she spoke. 

Gracie's good buddy at daycare left to go to school.  That last day was pretty sad!  Maddie just kept wanting to give Gracie hugs.  The realization for Gracie came later when Maddie wasn't there.  Now she tells me that "Maddie is bye, bye."  The she tells me and signs "sad".   A new little girl named Dana has started in Gracie's daycare room and they are making fast friends.  Dana is the same coloring and has the same type of hair Gracie does, although Dana is much smaller in build.  The similarities are not lost on Gracie, she picked up on this immediately and has gravitated to Dana.  I'm told they get along very well. 

Gracie started her third year of ECSE Preschool last week.  Last year was a pretty stressful year at school for her, it was turning around toward the end with the change of teachers and classroom settings.  This year it has gone remarkably smoothly.  I love her teachers and paras and Gracie really seems to love it.  The bus driver and para are the same as last year and I love, love, love both of them too.  So does Gracie. 

Jeff's busy season of working alot of weekends, long days, and travel out of town have begun.  This does not sit well with daddy's girl.  The first words out of her mouth each morning are "Go see daddy!"  When she finds out that he has already left for the day, she gets sad.  There are some nights when she goes to bed without seeing him too.  We'll just have to make sure the time they do have together is quality time. 

We are looking forward to the cooler fall temps.  That means more outside time for us.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie the school girl

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


We've had a crazy couple of days.  Gracie was running a fever when Jeff picked her up at daycare on Thursday.  He stayed home from work with her on Friday and her fever would come and go.  On Friday night her temp spiked to 105.  I was quickly on the phone with the nurses line.  They told me everything we were doing was right.  I didn't feel terribly comfortable with that knowing our little pumpkin.  She was burning up and shaking uncontrollably from the chills.  She also had very labored breathing.  We finally got her temp down a bit, but she was so restless.  She finally fell asleep about 11:00 p.m.   On Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m., it started all over again.  Jeff had to work, so I packed a quick bag and headed to the E.R. with her. 

At the E.R. there were so many trauma patients, that they put us in the intensive care area...not because we needed to be there, but so the doctors could be close to us and their emergent patients.  I was relieved when 8:00 a.m. came and the pediatrician (who I really liked came in)...that's when things started to happen for us.  She sent us for a chest x-ray and sure enough it came back positive for pneumonia.  She also gave Gracie a red popsicle for being such a good girl.  Gracie ate it like a big girl, but you just can't help the drips, there was red popsicle everywhere...including the floor of the x-ray area. 

So they gave us some antibiotics and sent us home.  Our weekend was pretty low key.  Gracie didn't have a lot of energy and her fever continued to spike and then come down with ibuprofen through Monday.  By Tuesday we had the fever under control, but the coughing is pretty nasty.  She's been a trooper though.  Since Jeff had to work on Saturday, went to a family event on Sunday (Happy 50th Anniversary Ann & Denny - so sorry we missed your special day), and I stayed home with her on Monday and Tuesday, she has been missing daddy and constantly tells me that she wants to see daddy.  On Monday after her bath, she took her medical alert bracelet and pretended she was reading it.  Here is her interpretation of what it says:

"Dear Mommy, I love you.  Love, Gracie.  Dear Daddy, STAY HOME!" 

And I thought it said "seizure disorder and allergic to tree nuts".   She is a little comedian sometimes...and of course since I laughed, she's been going around the house saying that alot!!!!

Gracie is back at daycare today.  She was a little hesitant at first, but was definitely ready to see her friends.  It was so sweet, after she settled in there was a three girl hug with Gracie in the middle.  It was priceless. 

She's still a bit tired and has coughing fits if she does too much of anything, but is happy and fever free.  Now if we can only keep her cool in the heat today.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie the germ fighter

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Healthy Again!!!!

After 14 days with the diarrhea, I am happy (overjoyed actually) to say that Gracie is healthy again.  She went back to daycare on Monday.  Her friends were very excited to see her and she was pretty happy to see them too!

Here are a few updates:

  • Every 4 months Gracie has an appointment with her pediatric neurologist to keep an eye on seizures, as well as neuro development.  We recently had this appointment and Gracie was incredibly verbal and her neurologist was thrilled to see all of her new verbal skills, as well as listening and attending skills.  Seizures are well controlled, but due to growth (Gracie is now 4 feet tall and 62 pounds) we did increase her seizure med dosage.
  • Gracie knows all of the capital letters of the alphabet excluding three letters.  We are also working on being able to sign those letters and she is doing great with that too.  She doesn't always get perfect hand formation, but she tries very hard.  
  •  Yesterday at daycare, Gracie approached a little boy who was playing trains.  She asked him "Gracie play?"  Then she sat down on the floor and began trying to put some wooden tracks together, she didn't quite get that, but kind of stacked them and then ran her train over them.  Gracie doesn't usually engage in too much actual play with toys, she moves them from one place to another, so we were pretty excited about this.
  • Today at daycare a sea life exhibit will be there.  I'm told there will be fish, starfish, sea horses, baby stingrays, and much more.  I'll be anxious to hear what she has to say about her day.
  • Gracie has been having very restless nights lately.  She's been talking in her sleep a bit too, so I suspect she is dreaming.  I did ask her this morning if she had lots of dreams last night and she said she did.  I asked her if they were good dreams or bad dreams and she said "bad dreams".  What do five year olds dream about?  Hmmmm.  I do know that when she does seem to be having a bad dream and I rub her back and tell her that mommy is right here, it does seem to calm her.
  • Gracie undressed herself for the first time the other day and was quite proud of herself.  I was putting some clothes away in her room when I came out to the living room to find a very proud girl with only a pull-up on and her dress in her hand.  
  • Gracie has a great love of Bill Cosby and has started doing impressions of him, much to our amusement.
  • I registered Gracie for the Young Athletes Program through the Special Olympics for October and November.  It's a neat program where occupational students volunteer their time to work with 2 to 7 year olds with intellectual disabilities to learn to enjoy sports.  I'm anxious to see what Gracie thinks of it. 
We are loving the cooler weather!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gracie is 5!!!!!

Gracie is officially five years old and that age seems to agree with her.  Gracie had a great birthday....we extended the fun to have a few celebrations.  We took cupcakes and Mickey and Minnie Mouse treat bags to daycare for all of Gracie's classmates there.  That was a big hit. 

On the Sunday just before Gracie's birthday.  Gracie's Godparents and family came over to help us celebrate.  Gracie had so much fun and was loving all of the attention. 

On Gracie's actual birthday, Jeff and I took the day off of work to spend it with her.  We took her to the swimming pool and she got so excited to see it and had a great time swimming and playing.  That night Grandma & Grandpa D. came over for pizza and cake to help celebrate. 

It was a great many awesome cards, gifts, and good wishes.  Gracie definitely knows she is "5".  She shows us a whole handful.

The evening of Gracie's birthday she began having the diarrhea...and here we are over a week later and she still has it.  No fever, no vomiting, she's eating and drinking, but we can't get rid of the nasty stuff.  Jeff and I have been swapping back and forth staying home with her.  I suspect a bug of some sort from the pool.  I talked with a pediatric nurse today and we'll plan to take her to the doctor tomorrow. 

Since Gracie is sitting on my lap....and wants attention.  I'll keep this short...but will add some pictures to help tell her birthday story.

Who knew 5 years could go by so fast and one little girl could wrap herself around our hearts as Gracie has.  WE ARE BLESSED!

Lisa, Jeff, & Gracie the 5 yr old

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hot! Hot! Hot!

The theme this week is how to keep Gracie cool.  Thanks heavens daycare is air conditioned!  I wish it were a little cooler so the kids could have more outdoor playtime. 

Some of the highlights of the last week are:

  • Aunt Arlene & Uncle Dave stopped by on Sunday to drop off an old-fashioned Radio Flyer tricycle for Gracie to use.  It was one their kids had used and is much bigger than the tricycles you can find today.  Gracie was very excited.  Now it needs to cool off so Gracie can do a little riding on it and strengthen her legs.  
  • Grandma & Grandpa D, Aunt Kathy, and cousin Maria hung out with us on Sunday afternoon.  Gracie had fun splashing everyone with the water from her pool.  They all deserved it though because they are the ones who taught her to do it.  They also encouraged her to go into the pool with all of her clothes on...which she did.  Who knew a pull-up could retain that much fluid...I swear it weighed 10 lbs. or more.
  • On Monday, Gracie had fun at daycare.  Their theme right now is fairytales and they read the story of Billy Goat gruff.  Then the kids all made bridges out of their bodies and they rolled balls underneath to help them learn the concept of over and under.  Gracie loved this.   She was a tired girl that night.
  • On Tuesday, Gracie had the best day at daycare EVER!  A fairy tale story teller came to daycare with his pet dragon "Spit".  That was a huge hit.  Gracie talked about "Spit" all evening long.  They also had a fire drill at daycare and they said that Gracie recovered from that much more quickly than they anticipated.  She told me "It was too loud!"  Gracie participated in all of the group activities.  Gracie usually listens and watches, but is too shy or unwilling to participate. Well on Tuesday all the kids got a turn to name an animal and then say what sound it makes.  When they asked Gracie if she wanted a turn, much to her teachers amazement she jumped right up, but had a hard time thinking of an animal.  So they helped her think of the animal "mouse", then she very confidently said "Squeak!  Squeak!"  They said it was so cute and they were so proud of her.  Mom and Dad are pretty proud too.  
  • On Wednesday, Gracie had a very rough day at daycare.  Her teachers said they are just sure it had to do with the impending storms, as all the kids were on their worst behavior.  When Jeff went to pick her up, he watched her on the monitor in the lobby for awhile.  She kept knocking toys over.  Needless to say when daddy arrived, she was made to pick them all up.  She settled down a bit after that and had a great evening.  Last night we had a lazy night and watched some old Cosby show episodes.  Gracie loves these and does a great imitation of Bill Cosby.  
  • This morning, Jeff went to lay down with a sleeping Gracie while I went to take a shower.  She rolled over, saw him, said "mean guy" and then went back to sleep.  That is Gracie's new joke, she calls Jeff a mean guy because she knows he reacts to it.  One day earlier in the week, we were at home and Jeff was coming home from work, I told Gracie "Look out the window, see who's home."  Without skipping a beat she said "mean guy".  For all those of you who know Jeff well, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body, which makes this extra comical to me.
Tomorrow at daycare they have a fire truck visit.  That ought to be's also water day...maybe the firetruck will hose the kids down.  Ha!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Week So Far

Gracie had a very rough day at daycare on Monday.  She was very overwhelmed as many of the kids were back from vacation and there was a very full room.  Add to that she was tired as she had trouble falling asleep the night before.  The lead teacher took her out of the room a couple of times to sit in the teachers lounge and listen to music to calm her.  That would help for a little while.  At one point she knocked over all the hats in the dramatic play area and when she was picking them up, she hit herself in the eye with one, so the area around her eye was swollen and the eyeball itself was red.  When I picked her up and asked her how her day was, she told me it was a "sad day".  We gave her extra TLC that night and tucked her into bed nice and early.  She fell asleep immediately. 

Tuesday was a much better day...and it was WATER DAY at daycare.  All the kids get to bring their swimsuits and play outdoors in the sprinklers.  Gracie loves this!

Today Jeff and Gracie are spending the day together.  She was so sweet this morning when I left the house.  "Momma hug!"  "Momma kiss!"  She was so loving I didn't want to leave.  I think Gracie and daddy had a busy day planned.  I'm sure she will have stories for me tonight. 

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Monday, July 9, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

We've had a busy and fun two weeks:

Thursday, June 28, 2012:
A petting zoo came to daycare and Gracie loved every minute of it and was very up close and personal with the animals. They had a camel, a donkey, a talking parrot, chickens, baby ostriches, a turtle, a potbelly pig, some goats, a snake, bunnies, and a few more fun animals. Gracie got to hold a bunny and thought that was GREAT!!!

Friday, June 29, 2012:
We all went to pick up my sister at the airport. Gracie was thrilled to have Aunt Norma from Texas spend some time with us. She was a little cautious at first, but warmed up fairly quickly.

Saturday, June 30, 2012:
This was a Gracie and daddy bonding day. They had a great time playing and just hanging out. Rumor has it she even got McDonald's chicken nuggets for supper. Mommy snuck away for an all day "shop til you drop" day with her four sisters.

Sunday, July 1, 2012:
Lots of errands with mom and then some outdoor time in the pool and sprinklers while daddy started a landscaping project. This way Gracie could be by daddy, but still busy and not too much in his way.

Monday, July 2 & Tuesday, July 3, 2012:
It was back to daycare for Gracie. It was too hot to do they played inside most of the time. She has been such a good girl at daycare the last couple of weeks. I think she is finally feeling comfortable and understanding the expectations. They had red, white, and blue day on July 3rd...we made sure she looked very patriotic.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012:
We had a big family picnic, complete with delicious food, lots of family, and lots of fun. A small inflatable swimming pool and a sprinkler helped keep Gracie and others cool. There were some water fights and a good day was had by all. Gracie loves family time. She was so tired by the time we left, but she stayed awake the whole way home and was very chatty.

Thursday, July 5, 2012:
A representative from "Bikes for Everybody" was supposed to come to our house, but a family emergency came up for her, so this was postponed til Sunday. Gracie was tired and kind of needy this day. We just let her play and spend some time in the pool again.

Friday, July 6, 2012:
Back to daycare. She had a great day and even took an hour nap. She rarely naps at daycare.

Saturday, July 7, 2012:
We drove to Grandma and Grandpa B's house for the afternoon. There was lots of family around and Gracie enjoyed herself immensely.

Sunday, July 8, 2012:
The representative for "Bikes for Everybody" came to our house and we tryed a few models out for Gracie. Gracie loved it...we're still not sure what we are going with...they are going to drop off a bigger model at our home for Gracie to try for a few days. The options range anywhere from about $250.00 to $1600.00, and of course the one that Gracie loved and felt the most secure on was the $1600.00 model. I think some of the smaller models will actually help Gracie work on her skills. Still trying to decide what to do. Gracie was VERY sad when the bikes got packed up to go...she thought she was getting one that day. Grandma & Grandpa D came over for supper. Gracie was pretty tired though and occupied her time by removing all the box and canned goods from my box or can at a time.

Monday, July 9, 2012:
Gracie had a bloody nose through the night. When I went to take a shower I wondered why I had blood all over my arm (she had been sleeping on my arm). Her pillows were full of blood, her blankie, her pj's, and her face. We had to quick wash her blankie so it could travel to daycare for rest time with her. She wasn't too sure she wanted to stay at daycare today and was looking kind of sad when I left.

Hoping the cooler temps this week will make for a more comfortable girl.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Great Mood!!!

Gracie has been in a great mood all week and she has been so well behaved at daycare. Everyone at daycare has been commenting on it. She's been helpful, cooperative, and a good friend.

Yesterday it was water day at daycare and Gracie got to bring her swimsuit along and run through the sprinklers. She loves this. I'm told she had a ton of energy. When I picked her up last night, she was in the middle of storytime, so I let her sit on my lap while the teacher finished the book. I noticed she had quite a cough, but she still seemed happy enough. Her cheeks were a bit flushed too. We got her a drink on the way out. The hacking cough continued and became quite severe all the way home. She was breathing, she was able to swallow, but she was definitely having an allergic reaction to something. I think I watched her more closely on the way home than I did the road. When we got home I gave her some antihistamines, some food (as she was starving), and a bath to make sure any allergen that might be on her skin was removed. It took about an hour and a half...and lots of prayers and the coughing finally subsided. I slept with one eye open all night, but she fine and was in a fantastic mood this morning.

I talked with everyone at daycare this morning and we have no idea what may have caused her allergic reaction. I have asked them to only use our sunscreen, as I have been noticing that her skin reacts to theirs a bit...even though there are no nut products in it. They were happy to comply with my request.

I'm hoping there will be no more weird reactions today. I also hope Gracie stays cool's supposed to get to 95 degrees today. A real scorcher!

Lisa, Jeff, and Great Mood Gracie

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Healthy, Happy, and Having Fun!

I am happy to report that Gracie is healthy again!!!! We had a pretty low key weekend. On Saturday we hung out at home, played outside and enjoyed a visit from Grandma & Grandpa D. On Sunday we hung out at home most of the day. We brought out the sprinklers to keep Gracie cool and she had a great time playing outside. Jeff discovered a nest of baby bunnies so Gracie was super excited about that. Gracie has been so much fun lately. She gets so excited about things. On Saturday she found a video of a whale swimming on her iPad and kept showing this to Jeff and I excitedly. Then we put sprinkles on her ice cream cone. That was major excitement as well. It makes me smile to hear and see her expressions. Yesterday when Jeff picked up Gracie at daycare, he was told she got the gold star for being the best behaved kid in her classroom. She had a great day! They had a dance instructor come in and teach the kids zumbatomic dancing. I'm told Gracie LOVED it!!!! Today at daycare it's water day, so the kids will get to dress into their swimsuits and run through the sprinklers...another favorite of Gracies. It does my heart good to see her healthy and happy again. Last night she kept eating and eating and eating!! Then she woke me up this morning at 4:00 a.m. and told me she wanted chicken, boop (her word for ketchup), and french fries. I told her to go back to sleep! YAWN!!!! Stay cool...I hear we are headed into the 90's for the rest of the week. UGH! Love, Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie Good Girl

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Stomach Flu....EWWWW!

So last Wednesday, the very day I posted about what an awesome week Gracie was having, I got a call early afternoon from daycare...she had the diarrhea and had vomited. I picked her up and she seemed happy enough...then as we were driving home, she threw up again...all over herself and the car. That was the theme for the rest of the afternoon. By Thursday the vomiting had stopped, but the diarrhea continued. We thought we had it under control over the weekend, when it began again later on Sunday. I stayed home from work with her on Monday...and at midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning, it all began again. She was vomiting and had the diarrhea constantly from midnight through til 4:30 a.m. when she finally was able to fall asleep. The poor little munchkin just moaned through it all and was so restless. She never moans unless she is REALLY sick. I stayed home with her again yesterday and it was a pretty quiet day. She would drink Gatorade, but nothing else. She would eat just enough applesauce to get her seizure meds in her. In the evening she started to perk up a bit and wanted some crackers and did have a piece of toast. Gracie slept great last night and was still sleeping when I left the house. She is at home with daddy today. She is eating a bit more today, but I'm told the diarrhea continues...not as frequently however. She has asked to go "bye, bye" so that is a good sign. We're hoping that she is feeling better and soon! Love, Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie Gurgly Guts

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Awesome Week

Gracie has had an awesome week at daycare.  We've been very good about getting her into bed for story time at about 7:45 p.m., so she is asleep by 8:00 p.m. and this has done wonders for her mood and ability to cope at daycare.  She loves daycare and asks every morning about going "bye bye daycare". 

I think I've mentioned in previous posts that when Gracie is feeling overwhelmed or kids get in her personal space, she doesn't have the words to communicate, so she will hit or scratch them.  We've been working with her on calm down techniques and behavior modifications.  It's working!  Her teachers at daycare have told us that they see her make the hand motion as if to hit, but catches herself midway and puts her hand down and stops herself.  They've also indicated that they have a "calm down corner" both indoors and outdoors and have found Gracie going to these spots on her own when she is feeling a little overwhelmed or just needs some time away from everyone else.  YAY GRACIE!!!!

Gracie was in such an awesome mood last night.  She was happy, silly, smiley, just in fantastic mood.  She brought home a project she made in daycare last night for Jeff for Father's Day.  I just love it...she made him a trophy that says #1 Dad.  It is so cool. 

Gracie was in bed and sleeping by 8:00 p.m. last night, but awoke at 2:00 a.m. and try as she might she couldn't fall back asleep.  I "bounced" her (me holding her and bouncing) for a while, but I can only bounce a 60 pound child for so long before my back feels like it is going to break.  We snuggled, we rocked, and at 3:30 a.m., she finally fell back asleep, but it was a restless sleep.  She awoke at 6:30 a.m. and was a happy girl this morning, so I hope she's having a good day at daycare. 

It's water day at daycare today...this happens once a week.  The kids all bring their swimsuits and they get to play in the sprinklers.  It was so much fun hearing all the kids ask each other if they brought their swimsuit.  I even told Gracie to ask her friend Maddie if she brought her swimsuit and she did.  "Maddie, did you bring swimsuit?"  Then Maddie's dad asked Gracie if she brought hers (she had just heard me tell someone else it was pink) and she said "yes, pink!"   I hope it's warm enough out for water's looking kind of cloudy and cool out there.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie in the pink swimsuit!

Monday, June 11, 2012

School's Out for Summer!!!!

Gracie has officially graduated from year two of preschool.  The last day of school was a lot of fun for her.  The school had a DJ playing music on the playground and Gracie LOVES music and LOVES to dance.  Parents were invited to join the class for the last hour of school for a party and a little graduation ceremony.  It was a lot of fun to see Gracie with her classmates.  Many of them will go on to kindergarten next year, but since Gracie will be a very young five, we decided another year of pre-school would be the best thing for her.  We've met her teacher for next year and we are very pleased.  We've also found out that the director at Gracie's daycare (who is going to school for her early childhood special education degree) will be student teaching in Gracie's class.  Gracie loves Sara, so that is very exciting too. 

So Gracie will be officially hanging out at daycare for the summer.  They are bringing in alot of fun things for the kids.  They also have "water day" once a week.  We've found that if Gracie is in bed by 8:00 p.m. or before she usually has a good day at daycare.  Later than that...and she has a really rough day.  She really is a kid who needs her sleep. 

This morning she was very happy to be there...I'm hoping she has a great day.

Our weekend was spent trying to keep cool..Gracie got to hang out in her inflatable pool in the backyard and loved every minute of it.

Have a great week!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gracie and Mommy Weekend

Jeff worked all weekend, so Gracie and I had a great, yet mellow weekend together.  We had a playdate planned for Saturday morning, but a g.i. bug hit the home of our play buddies, so we took a raincheck.  We hope you are all feeling better playmates. 

On Saturday morning we did a little shopping.  First stop...the shoe store where I was assured she still had enough room in her sneakers.  Next stop...the mall.  We got Gracie some shorts that were on sale in a size bigger than what she wears...just in case a growth spurt hits before the summer is over.  Then we stopped at McDonalds for some chicken mcnuggets and french fries.  We took it home and added some healthy fruit to the lunch menu.  We played outside after nap and into the evening.  Jeff made it home at supper time and we grilled hamburgers and ate out on the deck. 

In the evening Gracie was having a great time climbing up the slide and going down all by herself with no one catching her.  She then thought it was great fun to play puppy by crawling on all fours on the grass with her tongue hanging out of her mouth while she pretended to pant.  I made sure to wash her hands well after that in case any squirrels had left any nut debris in the grass.  Unfortunately, this didn't help her seasonal allergies at all and her eyes were bright red before bed.  When she awoke in the morning, her right eye was so swollen she could barely get it open.  We used prescription eye drops and nasal spray, and gave her the daily Claritin and they were looking a lot better by noon, but they were definitely swollen all day. 

On Sunday, at Gracie's request, we went to Target "to buy chicken".  Gracie LOVES going to the store.  We also stopped at Old Navy where she is in love with the little kid and dog mannequins.  She was holding their hands and hugging them.  There is one just a little bigger than her that has the cutest piggy tails and she was sporting piggy tails too.  I wish I would have had a camera to take a picture of the two of them together. 

Other than that our day was pretty lazy.  Gracie pepped up when daddy got home about 7:30 p.m.  She was definitely missing him.  Unfortunately bedtime came way too soon for her liking.  We try to get her in bed by 8:00 p.m. on school nights...but she needed some daddy time, so it was more like 8:30 p.m.

Gracie had a great day at school today and was very verbal.  She kept telling her classmates "good job" on the playground.  She did accidentally ingest a small amount of ice cream that was manufactured in a facility with tree nuts before staff realized it.  So school monitored her for about 45 minutes and the bus staff and daycare are now on monitoring alert as well.  I'm pretty sure that if there was going to be an allergic reaction we would have seen it by now.  I'm hoping and praying that all is fine. 

It looks like it is going to be a beautiful week.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Healthy, Happy, and Having Fun

Gracie is healthy again which makes for a much happier girl. 

Here are a few highlights of Gracie's life since I last posted:

  • Gracie had a dentist appointment and even let the dentist clean her teeth and apply a little flouride!!! (A little history:  At her first appointment she wouldn't open her mouth or sit in the dental chair.  At her second one she sat in the chair but wouldn't let them clean her teeth.)  So I felt that she made some major strides.  We practiced opening our mouth and saying "AHHHH" the whole way to the appointment.
  • Gracie met with her allergist.  We postponed having her tested for a possible penicillin allergy, as her seasonal allergies are still quite bothersome and we knew she would be miserable if we took her off antihistamines for the required 5 days prior to the test.  We are now adding a prescription eye drop and a nasal spray to her list of allergy meds to see if we can get her seasonal allergies under control.  
  • Gracie attended the graduation parties for two of her cousins.   She loved taking all of her cousins for walks and was not ready to go home when it was finally time to leave.  She has become a very good car rider.  I didn't think I would ever say that.  
  • On Memorial Day, we set up a sprinkler ring and Gracie had a blast playing with it and in the puddle of water that pooled at the sidewalk.  She is definitely an outdoor girl.
  • Gracie went bowling for a school class trip.  A big thank you to her teacher who washed down the bowling alley surfaces that Gracie would come into contact with and to the district school nurse who went along.  We so appreciate all of the extra efforts that were put forth to keep our precious little girl safe from allergens.  
  • Gracie has been so tired lately.  Jeff and I are just sure that she is gearing up for a growth spurt.  I've already noticed that her shoes are starting to get small.  I think we'll be going to the shoe store this weekend for some new shoes.  
  • Gracie only has two more days of school left.  After next week, she'll be on summer vacation and her daycare has a ton of fun summer activities planned.
  • Last night after her bath Gracie stood in front of the mirror flexing her muscles and told me she was strong!  She cracks me up!
  • Life is good and we are blessed!

Hope you're having a great Spring!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Monday, May 21, 2012

Healthy Heart!!!

On Thursday of last week, Gracie had her annual echocardiogram and visit with her Pediatric Cardiologist.  We got great news.  In the past Gracie has had two valves that showed some thickening (that's not a good sign) and a ductis that was leaky.  This has been pretty consistent each changes, but all still of some concern.  This year the results were different...there was no thickening of the valves and the ductis has grown closed on it's own and there is no longer any leakage.  Gracie's cardiologist said that had he not seen Gracie's previous echos, he would not have known this was anything but a healthy heart!  YAY!!!!!  We still need to check in annually to semi-annually to keep an eye on things, specifically the valves.  Our cardiologist told us to keep on doing what we're doing.  So I guess we'll just keep on feeding her french fries and chicken nuggets!  ;)

On Friday, Gracie started coming down with a cold.  I knew there was something wrong when I wanted her to go outside with me on Thursday night for a walk and she didn't want to.  I finally convinced her to go in the stroller and halfway home, I asked her how she was doing and she told me she wanted to go home.  On Saturday, it was much of the same -- runny nose, quite a cough, not too much energy.  Although we did play outside a bit.

On Sunday morning, her fever spiked to 102 and she had uncontrollable chills and very labored, wheezie breathing.  I gave her some ibuprofen, wrapped her in a blanket, and held for 90 minutes until she started to feel a bit better.  So we gave her lots of TLC yesterday and today she is at home with daddy getting even more!  The last I checked in, her temp is normal.  So I'm hoping she is on the mend.

Stay well!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Time with Family

Gracie had a good weekend.  She got to see Grandma & Grandpa D on Saturday.  Gracie is still pretty shy around them since their return for the summer.  I know she'll warm up soon.  On Sunday, we went to Grandma & Grandpa B's house.  Gracie was good as gold for the drive to and from.  We sang and did hand motions for most of the trip and that is great fun for Gracie.  She was super excited to see cousin Jason...and Aunt Sheila and Uncle Chris.  There were lots of hugs for everyone. 

Monday was a rough day for Gracie.  She didn't get enough sleep, she didn't have school, and she was a major grump with strong behaviors for our beloved daycare team.  The morning was extremely rough and she was very unhappy and nothing consoled her.  Finally they had her lay on her cot and listen to music and that seemed to be the ticket.  The afternoon was much better.  Gracie's day yesterday was better, but she still had some strong behaviors.  She was so upset at lunchtime, she didn't eat.  She seemed very tired last night, so instead of a bath, I just stuck her in bed early and decided she would just have to stink for a day.  :(

That seemed to be the ticket...more sleep.  I just talked with her teacher and she had the best day yet.  There were no tantrums, she cooperated and joined in on all activities.  She had a great time with friends at school and had very little transition issues when getting on and off the bus.  Maybe this was because she was wearing her batman shirt to school today at her request.  She was feeling like a super hero. 

Tomorrow we have her annual echocardiogram and visit with her cardiologist.  Hopefully we'll get good results! 

Have a great rest of the week.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Friday, May 11, 2012

Another Good Week!

Where has this week gone?   It's been busy, but nothing too eventful.  Gracie has had a great week at school and at daycare.  She continues to be healthy, other than some crazy seasonal allergies.  Her eyes are majorly red and itchy.  We've been doing anti-histamine eye drops and oral meds.  They definitely help, but are not a cure all.

Gracie climbed the rock wall at daycare with a little help.  She initiated that she wanted to climb it.  She's also been very physical in climbing up to slides and crawling through tunnels at both daycare and school.  This is a big accomplishment for her.  Her vocabulary is exploding - love it!

We're planning a nice Mother's Day weekend and plan to visit with Grandma B and Grandma D.

Wishing all mothers a fantastic Mother's Day.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Good Week

It's been a good week.  In my last post, I was concerned about Gracie's daycare setting and her being overwhelmed with too many kids in her class.  Well kudos to the teacher and the new assistant teacher.  They are an incredible pair and Gracie is doing really well at daycare.  She is talking more than she ever has in the daycare setting, she has a group of new friends who are ready to help and encourage her, and she initiated climbing up the rock wall at daycare all on her own.  She needed a little help when she got to the top, but she did it!  YAY GRACIE!!!!!  The teachers both understand when she is overwhelmed and have put things into place to help with adjustments there.  I am very pleased.

On Tuesday night we joined the local school board to honor the bus driver, bus paraprofessional, and the district nurse who saved Gracie's life when she had a severe allergic reaction on the school bus.  It was a thrill to see these three individuals honored.  It was also a thrill to meet the bus driver and paraprofessional.  Both are incredibly wonderful people.  We know the school nurse and she is so deserving as well.  She's an incredible person also.  A news crew was there (we had no clue) and did a nice story.  It wasn't 100% accurate, but good enough.  The local newspaper wanted to do an article as well and we were going to grant permission, but they didn't keep promises and showed up at Gracie's daycare unannounced to take her picture with the bus staff.  They didn't get district permission either.  Gracie was upset and once again the bus staff had her best interests at heart and the picture didn't happen.  We decided to cancel the newspaper story.  We really didn't want the news media involved at all, our intent was to honor some very deserving people and that was done. 

The rest of the week was just busy with Jeff working long hours and Gracie and I hanging out.  She is so tired by the end of the day, that we get her fed, get a little play time and then she is ready for bed.

This weekend we had some good play time.  Gracie was really interested in putting wooden puzzles together this weekend.   Jeff and I were amazed at how good she is getting at it and how she had an incredibly long attention span as well.  She's also been playing some fun letter games on her iPad and is starting to learn the letters of the alphabet.  Yesterday I was feeding her some Mott's applesauce in the car.  She pointed to the clear "M" on the container and told me it was an "M".  I was shocked.  Then she pointed to the "O" and told me it was an "O".  She didn't know the "T", but I was pleasantly surprised with the others. 

I'm hoping for another good week.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Monday, April 30, 2012

This and That - The Week in Review

When I last posted I had just met Gracie's new teacher at daycare and I was very optimistic.  Gracie was starting to really take to her.  While you would think that would be good news...not so much, as the teacher decided this age group wasn't for her and she quit.  Friday was her last day.  Gracie's really struggling at daycare right now and rather than hiring a new teacher they will be joining her room with another preschool room.  I love the teacher in there, but the number of kids is pretty high and overwhelming for Gracie.  We'll give it a little time to see if this will work for Gracie and if not, we'll begin the daycare search again.  This makes me a little sad as there are so many things I really liked about this setting. 

On Wednesday of last week Gracie had a GREAT day at school.  She seems to really be working hard and starting to feel more comfortable and cooperative.  I love her teacher at school, she is so awesome with Gracie.  I just realized that Gracie only has 8 more days of school before summer break.  I really like this teacher and this program.  We were so fortunate to be able to transfer her so late in the year. 

On Thursday we had Gracie's routine (every 4 month) appointment with her pediatric neurologist.  Gracie was super chatty, loves the desk staff and Dr. N.  She told Dr. N. that she wanted to Skype from her computer.  That got a laugh.  Gracie is doing great from a neurology standpoint.  We did talk about Gracie's anxiety about transitions and the related tantrums that go with it.  We want to continue to handle these with behavior management for right now, but if we don't see results or if things get worse we have a Plan B and a Plan C.  Plan B is to give Gracie some Vitamin B6 and Omega 3 supplements.  Some kiddos with Sotos Syndrome have found success with that.  It's still more that we will have to put in her system, so we'll hold off as long as we can.  Plan C is to try an anti-depressant for the anxiety issues.  Kiddos with Sotos tend to find benefit with this as well.  So not ready to go the route of Plan B & C quite yet, but it's nice to have those in our back pocket should we need them.

On Friday, Goofy came to daycare to visit.  Gracie wanted nothing to do with Goofy, she watched him from afar.  We had heard this, so were surprised to hear Gracie tell us how Goofy was at daycare over and over and over again all weekend.  She kept telling us that "Goofy waved".  I guess she was just taking it all in.

On Saturday and Sunday Gracie was in the best mood!  She was happy and talkative, she dealt with frustrations and transitions beautifully.  It was an incredibly delightful weekend for all us.  Grandma and Grandpa D. have arrived in town for the summer, so they joined us for supper on Saturday night.  Gracie was happy to see them, but was quiet as a mouse the whole time they were there.  If she wanted anything she would whisper it in my ear.  I guess she'll have to get used to them again.

Last night we went for a walk and it started to rain.  Gracie had a ton of fun playing in the rain.  It was cold, so we made her keep her hood on, but I can't wait for a warm summer rain.  I think she will love playing in it.

Gracie was in a great mood this morning, until we got to daycare.  She was close to tears when I left.  That just breaks my heart.  Hopefully her day is going better. 

Have a great week.  It sounds like it will be a bit warmer.  I hope so.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Good Week

For those of you interested...Gracie was indeed excited to see Jeff when he picked her up from daycare last Tuesday after his trip to D.C.  She started crying happy tears, raised her arms to be picked up, and whispered "daddy" it was nap time at daycare.  That night she was the happiest little girl.  She kept wanting to do family hugs.  Gracie is definitely happiest when all three of us are home. 

Gracie had a good weekend.  She spent all day on Saturday with daddy while I took a day to go shopping with Gracie's Auntie Sheila (who just happens to be my sister).  Jeff and Gracie had a good day and even went to the playground to have fun on the swings and slides.  Auntie Sheila, Uncle Chris, and Cousin Jason all joined us for pizza at our house.  Gracie thought this was great fun. 

On Sunday, we had a fairly lazy day of just hanging out and playing outside.  It was a little cooler out, but the sun was shining and that is a perfect day for Gracie. 

On Monday it was back to school for Gracie.  Her routine was thrown off by an unscheduled tornado drill.  She had a hard time recovering from that, but did participate in some of the activities willingly.  She did have some fairly aggressive behavior toward peers and adults at one point, but did recover.  We'll have to keep a close eye on that as that goes along with her Sotos Syndrome diagnosis.  She did stamp a picture for mommy at school and was so excited to give it to me when she got home.  She carried her backpack into the house last night and was all smiles as she unzipped it and handed me the special picture she made me.  Gracie was in a very good mood last night and had a good night as long as she was sleeping with her head on my stomach. 

Today I met her new teacher at daycare.  I only met her for a few minutes, but I'm very optimistic...I think I'm going to like her!

I hope your week is going well.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie