Saturday, January 22, 2011

I heart gluten

Hi everyone,

It's been a relatively eventful couple weeks for Willow.

First of all, we're back on gluten. Willow had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday; it has been just under 2 months since we started the gluten-free diet. She was 19 pounds, 2 ounces. Not great weight gain. The doctor was impressed with her height growth though - she's at 30 inches tall, and her head circumference was normal too - 19 inches, I think it was. Then they drew blood to check her liver enzymes again. They were back to 40. The first time they were 40, then they were 44 and now 40 again. 37 is the high range of "normal". So gluten didn't seem to have an effect on anything. We all went out for pizza and beer (oh, how I missed you, beer) last night to celebrate! Still, I'm left feeling a little uneasy. I mean, now that we've ruled out the gluten thing, should I still be concerned? Or is Willow just a tiny kid with naturally high liver enzyme numbers? I emailed the doctor back to ask about this and am waiting to hear back. I want to thank all the friends and acquaintances who are gluten-intolerant, or have kids who are, who gave me advice on what to eat and buy. It was very helpful and I appreciated it a lot! Also: I have a great respect for you, because it is not easy.

Willow learned a great new word last weekend: that toddler favorite, "NO". I was taken by surprise because she had never said it before, and I was just talking to her like I always do. I said,

"Willow, do you want to try on your new swimsuit?"

So, now she says it all the time. What fun! It actually is still cute...she says it in a cute way. I know we probably won't think that for long. When I asked Linda, she said Willow ahd been telling her 'no' for awhile already.

Early On came to assess Willow the week before last. She is right on track developmentally for her corrected age, which we are very happy about. She was especially good at doing the puzzles - the lady said a particular one normally couldn't be done by kids until age 2 1/2. One thing the lady asked is, since we have a nanny, if we'd be interested in attending any of the Early On playgroups to help Willow socialize to other kids. I don't think we need to. Willow actually has been getting out and about quite a bit lately. We get together with Willow's friend Maisa and her mom every few weeks, and of course there's the weekly music class and my monthly parenting group. Willow also recently attended a sledding birthday party for her friend Aspen (I know,another tree :) ), and she was invited to another sledding party next weekend too. When we're around other kids, she doesn't play "with" them so much as next to them, but as I understand, that is normal for this age. I know she likes seeing other kids; whenever we're going to go somewhere in the car and I tell her that and start bundling her up, she always says, "baby?", meaning, "Will there be other babies there?"

We're getting excited for our big vacation next month: we're going to Puerto Rico with Josh's family. Yes, all three of us. That's why Willow just got a new swimsuit! I can't wait. We haven't had a vacation in like three years. We're leaving on Willow's birthday, February 19.

Here are a few photos. We just got the new camera and haven't taken very many pictures with it yet.

One of Willow's new favorite activities is playing in the sink.

Here she is on the potty again - don't know why we always feel compelled to take pictures of her there. We haven't made much progress yet with the potty training, but she does generally enjoy sitting on it!

All bundled up to go outside with Dad:

And finally, here is something pretty awesome. This video was Linda's Christmas present to us. She made it using pictures she took of Willow all year, using her phone! We had no idea she was taking any pictures of Willow. This video was such a surprise. Linda is the best!

Sunday, January 2, 2011



It's the morning of January 9, 2011. Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas too. Our Christmas was spent in Hastings this year. They have pretty set traditions on where they go and what they do for the holidays, and as we were doing those things, I kept remembering last time we did them, two years ago, when I was 18 weeks pregnant. :)

We arrived in Hastings at 2 AM on the 23rd, after driving all the way after work the 22nd (Wednesday). That day was pretty chill. Jack had to work and Jean was preparing for Christmas, shopping and cooking and stuff, so we brought Willow over to Josh's Grandma Lois's where Jill was staying too...they were more than willing to watch Willow for a few hours while we went out shopping, which we often have to do while in the civilization of the big city. We stopped at Babys-R-Us for disposable diapers (the ones we use at night are $6 cheaper a pack there than in Houghton!), and then headed for Ikea, where we got a toy bin/shelf organizer thing we'd been eyeing up, and the exciting purchase of the day...a big-girl bed! When I told my mom, she said, "but do you have a big girl?" Okay, Willow might not be quite ready yet, but pretty soon we're going to start the process, at least that's my plan. I'll have to night-wean her first so she stops waking up at night for "na-nas"...then we'll try to get her out of our bed. I know Dr. Sears has a lot in his book about how to do this, so I'll have to start reading up.

Christmas Eve we went over to Josh's Great-aunt Lorraine's house and visited with her family, and then later went over to his Grandma Eva's in St. Paul.

We spent New Year's Eve here at home with Ruth and Chad. We grilled steak and fish and sat in front of the fire. I just realized I don't feel much like writing today but here are a bunch of photos. Some were taken with Janna's camera which as you can see is much nicer than ours. Actually, our camera has been having issues - photos outdoors come out way too bright and you can't see anything. Video works OK, which is why I've included this silly little video of Willow in her stroller-sled, so you can see it. We got it at a rummage sale last summer. I think it's an antique. It works great on snow-covered roads!

Okay, here are some pictures.

Aunt Lorraine has a slot machine in her basement. Willow had a great time gambling. Look at how serious she looks here!

Here's Willow with Auntie Jill:

Showing off her mohawk...

...and the adorable hat talented Auntie Janna made her.

With her second-cousin Natalie (not a great photo, but the best one we got out of like 20). Nataie is, I think, about 8 months younger than Willow.

And here with her second-cousin-once-removed, Bianca, who was also a preemie.

At Grandma and Grandpa's we did some sledding in their driveway.

Here are photos of Willow with some of her new toys. She got thoroughly spoiled, as can only be expected when you're the only grandkid on both sides.

Here is a picure of Willow with some fellow former micropreemies. I've been getting together with these kids' moms in our informal "preemie mom club" for a while now, and we finally got our families together last weekend, with the kids and the dads (one family wasn't able to make it). From left, in the photo are Cat, Willow, Charlotte and Lewis; Cat and Lewis are twins. Both families have blogs linked to mine (and update much more often than I, so these pictures have already been posted for a while on their blogs!). There's something about having a micropreemie...other people, no matter how empathetic, just can't understand what it is like. So, It's been great to get together with these moms occasionally over the past many months. Charlotte's parents are moving to Minnesota soon. We will miss them!

Finally, here is a video of Willow demonstrating her climbing skills. She is still very into climbing and has earned a new nickname (by me, anyway), of "baby monkey".