Friday, September 21, 2012

Our Miracle Baby

I believe in miracles.  In fact, I believe that miracles happen all day, every day.  Most of the miracles that I think happen are never even seen by us - diseases that are cured before they're discovered, cars that are re-routed before they are in an accident, people that have 'that feeling' to go somewhere or not go somewhere and they don't know why.  I know that there are many people who don't believe in a higher power, including some of my close friends and family.  But, with the chaos going on the world there is no way that I could justify NOT believing in something bigger than ourselves.  Until yesterday, however, I had not witnessed a miracle with my own eyes.

Corey and I have been talking about another child for a lot of reasons, none of which have to do with us getting too much sleep or having too much quality time together.  But, for all of the things that instinctively tell us NOT to have a second baby, there was a nagging feeling in our hearts that we are supposed to have one.  We prayed and prayed about it, and we had our answer.   So, as terrifying as the idea is, we decided to forge ahead again and start the process.  The process that took years to bring us our beautiful daughter, and would surely be another long and arduous journey. 

On June 7th we had our doctor remove my IUD and we were told to wait three months before he would start the prescriptions and we would induce ovulation three months after that.  I took comfort in knowing that at the soonest we were looking at six months to a year.  This would give Brooke plenty of time to get potty trained, cut the rest of her teeth, and learn to cook her own meals and sleep until noon.  I would be prepared for this one.

Or maybe not.

I can't tell you why, but on July 12th I helped Brooke and Daddy get into their nightly bath, and then I grabbed a leftover EPT from the cabinet.  It expired two years ago so I should have tossed it in the trash.  Instead, I peed on it.  And I waited.  And I squinted at the lines in the dim light of the bathroom, because surely my contact-less eyes were incorrect.  Two lines.

Instead of buying Brooke an adorable "Big Sister" T-shirt to surprise Corey with, or baking a cute cake with a Daddy-to-be iced on top, I marched upstairs and flung the stick at my husband and daughter who were playing in the tub.

"What the hell is wrong with this thing?"  I bellowed, almost in tears.

He laughed at my 'trick' and said, "I'm not falling for that again."

I realized that my April Fool's Day joke had backfired as the tears welled up in my eyes and I tried to make him understand that I was not joking.  Eventually he got it.

As terrified as I was at seeing those two lines, that's how happy Corey was.  Sure, he was nervous over the prospect of having another minion to chase around, but this meant that we had done it, ourselves, without drugs or petri dishes or voodoo witch doctors.

I didn't care that we had done it ourselves, I only cared that I wasn't ready.  Not even close.

But, I made the appointment to confirm and although our first numbers came back pretty low our second number doubled appropriately and it was real - we were pregnant.  And the doctor scheduled an ultrasound to approximate a date of conception and due date for us.

That was two days ago and I'm still coping with what happened in the exam room.

We joked with our amazing doctor when he came in the room, telling him that his practice must have magic baby juju.  I'd been having morning sickness for a few days so I was feeling cautiously optimistic that everything was progressing well, although I am a pessimist and always very aware of the depressing odds of complications.

When he readied me for the ultrasound he mentioned that we may be too early along to see the heartbeat, but that with a beta (the amount of pregnancy hormone in my blood) as high as it was I was certainly far enough along to see the tiny baby.

We had seen Brooke at 6weeks and 2days so although I knew it was possible I was still ready to see a tiny gummi bear with a flickering heart just like last time.

Only this time, there was nothing there.

No sac, no fetal pole, nothing.  The doctors face changed as he angled the wand all around, looking all over my uterus for a sign that I was pregnant.  But although we knew from my numbers that my body was acting pregnant, and although he made a point to say that he got a clear view of my uterus, there was no baby.  Suddenly he turned the screen away from me, and pushed buttons quickly, scanning things over and over.  And then he put the wand down and looked silently at his nurse. 

All at once the blood left my head and I remember hearing Brooke scream, "Mommy" while I shoved my head between my upturned knees to try and breathe.

A few minutes and a bottle of water later the doctor started asking me questions about the pain in my right side (that I often have) and explained that the best case was a blighted ovum that he couldn't see clearly on the screen.  In other words, we were hoping for a miscarriage because the other option was an ectopic and emergency surgery.

After being satisfied that the pain I had been having wasn't excruciating he dismissed us to come back the following afternoon to meet with the sonographer who has a higher resolution ultrasound device that could see my fallopian tubes and ovaries and would be able to locate the pregnancy.

To say we were devastated is an understatement.  I was convinced that I had doomed the baby by not wanting it enough.  And the look on Corey's face was the most horrible thing I'd ever witnessed.  All we knew to do was pray.  We prayed for the baby.  We prayed that he or she was already at home in heaven and thanked God that this child would never have to feel pain.  We also thanked God for whatever miracle that He was working that was disguised as misery, because we knew that He is always with us and always protecting us.

We cried, and we went home and cried some more.  Corey wrapped up some things at work and took a couple of days off to stay with me and prepare what we would have to do if I was to be spending the weekend in the hospital.   We prayed so much that we didn't even know what we were praying for, but I remember Corey praying for the 'easy way' which we both knew was a miscarriage but neither of us could say out loud.   And we looked at our beautiful daughter and recognized that we had already been blessed so much and had so much to be thankful for.  Everything would be all right.

As my pain increased Thursday night into Friday I became concerned that my right tube was the location of the pregnancy and that I was in danger of rupturing it if I waited too long.  I toyed with the idea of the ER, but I wanted my doctor to be the one to do it so I tried to hold on until noon.

When we arrived at the office it was closed for lunch, but the sonographer was there waiting for us.  The doctor had asked him to come in early and see us first.  That told me that he was worried too, and that made me more worried.  Had my tube already burst?  Was I bleeding internally already?  Would I be leaving my beautiful family behind because I was too stubborn to go to the hospital in the middle of the night?

We sat quietly in the dark room while he got things ready, without any of the excitement of the day before.  Corey clutched my hand as the man squirted the gel onto my belly and started to look around.  Just as easily as the day before he found my uterus and I stared at the dark empty blob on the big screen.  And then he said he saw a gestational sac.

I was so relieved to hear those words.  All at once I wouldn't be dealing with surgery and recovering while chasing around Brooke.  But, I glanced at Corey's face and knew what he was hoping for.  My heart broke.  I couldn't deal with him being devastated again.

As the tech left us to get ready for the second and more invasive part I murmured to him that this was better, that we could deal with this together, and that a blighted ovum meant that although life had begun it ended before there was a baby and that somehow made it easier.  He nodded, but I doubt he heard me.

The wand came back out and immediately the man zoomed in on a shadow in the corner of the screen.    

"There's your baby!" he proclaimed like he knew it was there all along.

My jaw dropped.  There was a baby?  And what was that flickering?  I didn't want to ask, but I heard the words coming out anyway.

"Is that a beating heart?"


There was our child.  Like nothing had been going on.  Measuring exactly six weeks, meaning that his or her tiny heart (the size of a poppyseed) had just started beating in the last 48 hours.  While we were mourning the loss, his life was actually just starting.

The tech left us by ourselves to recover and we fell into each others arms and immediately began praying, thanking God for his faithfulness, for blessings, for answered and unanswered prayers.

And then Corey looked me straight in the eyes and told me that he'd had a dream the night before.  In his dream we were in a church, and a man was claiming to heal people.  To our left and right men were falling over as the preacher pointed at them and blessed them from God.  As we got up to leave the certain lunacy and get out of the crazy church, he pointed at us.  And then, in the dream, I turned to Corey while clutching my belly and said, "It's going to be okay.  The baby is okay." 

I have chills re-telling it.

And, here's the thing.  I know that ultrasound machines are faulty.  I know that doctors are human and make mistakes.  I also know what an empty uterus looks like on a screen and I saw one.  Save the idea that our unborn child is the ultimate hide and seek player I can't otherwise explain what happened to us yesterday. 

All I know is that on Thursday I gazed at a picture of my empty womb, and on Friday I have a healthy baby nestled there with a beating heart.

I am thankful to God in times of want and in times of plenty, although I am well aware that it is much easier to be thankful when you are as blessed as I am with an amazing family and when your story has a happy answer.

I pray that we are blessed to carry this baby to term and welcome it into our chaotic family, but right now I am thankful to God that we were blessed with this baby for any time at all. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day Four (the suffering of the carnivore)

I will give my husband credit, he did sign on to this challenge even when he knew he would have a hard time with it.  I'm not sure even he expected the depth of his soda addiction though, because it has been like detoxing with Bobby Brown around here.

On day two I made red lentil curry over brown rice for dinner, and even though we had naan with it (naan makes everything better) Corey still reluctantly gave the meal a 6.5.  Still happy that he made it though a day without meat, I pushed my luck yesterday on day three when we grilled whole wheat pizza outside and I didn't have any meat toppings.  To be fair, I offered chicken sausage to Corey for his, but I think by that time he was so hungry that he didn't want to wait for cooked meat. 

Not wanting my husband to succumb to salmonella from raw chicken pizza, we instead topped them with veggies and he pretended to be happy to at least be having pizza. 

Tonight I finally cut him a little slack and made swedish meatballs, which I make fairly often and he loves, and just added whole wheat noodles, mashed sweet potatoes and corn on the cob.   This was Brooke's first experience with corn on the cob and it was both hilarious and heartwarming as she daintily held her corn cob handles and plucked the kernels off with her tiny teeth.  She is actually eating quite well so far and I'm hoping that the fact that the doctor doubled her Prevacid dose is helping (another post about the kid will follow). 

Even though we've already had the batch of graham crackers, and I stocked up on delicious Be Kind bars, I think Corey is having a hard time not going to the pantry and pulling out delicious things to snack on.  I rarely buy anything like chips or cookies, but now that he's faced with not having them available they are suddenly much more appealing.

Luckily, we swung by Trader Joe's yesterday to watch Brooke push her own tiny cart and we picked up some Hansen's all natural soda made with cane syrup.  Still totally unhealthy, but if it keeps Corey on board with our game and it's not breaking the rules then I am satisfied. 

I'm going to have to step up the snack type food selection in our house so tomorrow I will spend Brooke's nap scouring the internet for delicious recipes, and I'll make some carrot chips too! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day One

I'm far too tired to give this post the attention that it deserves, but the sad truth is that if I don't leave a nice little update as to how our first day went I will be extremely less likely to make little updates in the future.  I realize that makes me juvenile, and pessimistic and displays an inability to commit myself to a task completely, but that doesn't make it any less true.

So, long story short - not much to report.

Okay, I'll explicate a bit.

Cute, right?

I got up this morning and turned on the oven first thing (at 6:22am) so that I wouldn't be baking while it was more than 115 degrees.  I rolled out the graham cracker dough, baked it in sweet little star shapes, and presented it to my daughter.  She took a tiny bite, handed it back to me with an enthusiastic "No!" and went about her day.

Not a hit. 

Corey and I think they're delicious though so at least they'll get eaten. 

Other than the delicious bite of graham cracker, Brooke ate pretty much what she normally does:  an egg and a few bites of french toast for breakfast, Aunt Annie (who apparently knows her way around a graham cracker much better than I do) bunny grahams for a snack, veggie sticks in the car, peanut butter on wheat bread, and half an avocado and grapes for lunch.

I had this cereal, which is super crazy delicious, and milk for breakfast, tuna salad made from a can of Trader Joe's delicious chunk tuna and the other half of Brooke's avocado, and some banana for lunch.

Corey sucks at eating while he's working so I was lucky to get him to eat a sprouted bagel and last night's chicken pot pie leftovers while he was gone.  When he came home he had a banana and a bowl of the amazing cereal to wash it down with.

For dinner I made an old standby - caramel apple pork chops and mashed sweet potatoes.  Brooke surprised us both by shoving a fork FULL of sweet potato in her mouth before we could even sit down and she polished off an entire serving along with a few bites of pork which is very out of character for her.  I ate the sweet potatoes and yogurt.

And there you have it.  I'm certain that was the most boring post I've ever written (or read) but at least I'm holding myself accountable by describing every morsel we pop in our mouths. 

Corey did quite well today and was only half joking when he called in the afternoon to ask me if a McDonalds milkshake is all natural. 

I didn't bother googling and just told him no, but if by some slim chance of fate shakes are the only thing that McDonalds doesn't add artificial flavors, colors and growth hormones to please don't post that in the comments until 29 days from now. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

30 Day All-Natural Park family challenge

I've talked about my newfound hippie-ish tendencies on this blog before, so this probably won't surprise any of you, although you may find yourself shocked that the fast-food loving, soda-chugging caveman I married is going along with it:  The Park family is embarking on a 30 day all natural eating challenge.

What does this mean?  Will we be eating wheat grass clippings and doing juice fasts and only consuming things that haven't been heated over 86.2 degrees or dried on adobe planks in the sun?  Not quite.  At least, not for us.  But if that's the route you want to go, more power to you.

For us, it means no preservatives.  No artificial colors or flavors in anything.  No Jack in the Box.  Some of you will think this is no big deal at all, and others will cry out loud and try to figure out how to smuggle Sundrop to Corey at work. 

For me, it is truthfully not going to be that big of an adjustment.  Or so I think while I'm still here in the planning stages.  But, I cook almost everything we eat from scratch and besides the occasional Lean Cuisine or plastic wrapped square of American cheese product (stop judging - you know you love those things too) I eat natural foods. 

And I can count the times that Brooke has had something artificial on two hands and almost all of them involve Grandpa sneaking around like the Grinch at Christmas and shoving a chunk of taffy between my child's rosebud lips while he thinks I'm not looking.  In fact, I take great pride in the fact that this past week he tried to feed her neon red Icee from the machine in the Circle K while we were watching the Fourth of July parade.  She looked at him like he'd grown two heads and said, "No, Grandpa.  That's not organic." 

Okay, she just said, "No!"  but that was good enough for me. 

So, that leaves the rebel patriarch of the family.

For the most part he eats what I feed him, but he has never been one to shy away from a Dr. Pepper on the way home from work, a breakfast burrito because he forgot to grab breakfast, or a double quarter pounder and grande fries just because he didn't want to eat the stir fry I packed him for lunch.

So, when I broached the subject I treaded lightly.  I led with the goal of the experiment, which is to buy all of us a little more energy and help us feel a little less heavy especially here in the 110 degree heat.  Since Corey has a class right now he spends most of his day on the flightline, where it is at least 15 degrees hotter than the rest of the city, and to say that he feels drained by 2pm is an understatement.  So, I'm crossing my fingers that replacing simple sugars with more fruits and veggies, and more lean proteins is going to help him out a little. 

It's not a weight loss plan, but I won't be upset if I drop a pound or two that seem to have taken up permanent residence on me since our cruise. 

What I really want to do is get over the 3 o'clock hump that I currently have where nothing in the world sounds better than crawling into the crib with Brooke and taking my own power nap.  And if organic bananas and homemade salad dressings can do it then I feel discovering the meaning of life is soon to follow. 

Because I wasn't sure this was enough of a challenge I'm also going to be forgoing plastic bags, which I try to do all the time but always manage to forget them in the trunk or on the counter at home.  I'm also going to be limiting canned, bagged, frozen, and pre-prepared foods - even the natural ones that are acceptable on this plan - and doing my best to stick to raw, clean foods. 

Brooke drinks boxed organic oat milk so that's still in, as is her weakness:  Annie's Organic honey wheat pretzels.  I figure they're natural and organic and packaged in foil instead of BPA leaching plastic, so they can stay.

But, I'm baking up graham crackers tomorrow to kick off our plan, and this week I'll be making ketchup, hamburger buns, bread and granola bars to make sure our house still has some convenience foods that we love the ease of. 

Oh, and I'm also trying to do this on $100 a week.  We have a low grocery costs here and no food tax, so this is possible but difficult. 

I'd like to promise that I'll blog every day during this experiment, but I'm afraid I'll make myself a liar before we begin, so I will say that I promise to keep you updated. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Glad you didn't hold your breath

 If I had posted this six months ago I would have just admitted to being a pitiful excuse for a blogger, apologized, and moved on. But now, after almost a year of silence, I realize that I'm not even a blogger anymore. I'm a girl, who once had a blog where she would drop some nugget of sarcastic wisdom about the mundane life of a stay at home mom and share pictures of her growing minion. Now, I'm just a mom who can rarely find her laptop under the stack of unopened mail, unfolded cloth diapers, unsorted socks, and magazine articles on child slavery and Adderall overuse (which sound more like advertisements to me at this point).

Birthday cake

Grandpa's idea of not spoiling is a Coach backpack

About once a week, and generally in the shower for some reason, I think about this blog. I think about how many months of pictures I have missed posting and how the two people that read it must think that our little family perished in a tragic bouncy-house accident. In fact, I have no good reason for not keeping our blog updated other than my seventeen month old toddler who was sixteen months old in May and fifteen months old before that, and so on, and so forth.

See, the truth is that although I always thought that I was incredibly good at multi-tasking, I am actually terrible when it comes to Brooke.

Before Brooke I could bake some graham crackers from scratch while folding laundry, making appointments by phone, marinating dinner, scrubbing the tile, and organizing the junk drawer. Even though I didn't always make it to regular pedicure appointments I had my toenails painted and my husband ate well rounded meals. Today at the indoor playground I was secretly thrilled that everyone was required to wear socks because the mom next to me appeared to live at the spa with her waxed eyebrows and little jeweled toes. Last night for dinner I served meatball sandwiches. Meatballs and sauce and bread. No veggies, no rice, no fruit or grains. I told myself that the organic ingredients and whole wheat buns made it better, but the reality is just that if Brooke isn't sleeping, I'm not getting anything done.

the aquarium
I grew up in a Mormon-centric town, which means that a lot of the girls I was friends with in high school have several kids, the oldest of which is much older than Brooke. They write beautiful posts with pictures of their trips out of town, with all of their children standing in a row and glowing beautifully for the camera. Their clothes match, their hair is combed with coordinating barrettes in place, and they don't have meltdowns before naps or if they aren't in bed promptly at seven p.m. following precisely two books and a litany of lullabies. Then, after the children are all tucked into bed, my friends do yoga, knit scarves from patterns they found on Pinterest, plan date weekends away to bed and breakfasts in the Rocky Mountains, and sell vinyl signs on etsy.

My life is extremely unlike this.

That is not to say that I don't enjoy it. Most days I wouldn't trade lives with anyone short of a shah, czar or Kardashian.

the zoo
Brooke and I hang out all day, every day. We go on outings and read books. We play on the bouncy house in our family room and do puzzles and eat sandwiches cut into stars. We take trips to the Children's Museum and the indoor playgrounds and the splash parks. We watch "Signing Time" and practice the hundreds of signs that Brooke knows. When she goes to bed, Corey and I pick up the stray alphabet blocks, crayons, and game pieces littering the floor, wash dishes, and sometimes I get to wash my hair before we mutter things like, "How was your day?" while drifting off prior to even getting into bed.

water park fun
Brooke is my little sidekick and best friend. But, she's freakin' exhausting.

She is incredibly smart, and I say that knowing that every parent thinks that their kid is a genius. Unfortunately, this kid may be weirdo smart - think sitting in the corner reading a physics book in kindergarten while the other kids are licking paste and playing house. So, she gets frustrated very easily when other kids, her speech therapist, or her idiot mom don't know exactly what she's doing or planning on doing.

She also needs a schedule. And when I say schedule I mean military style. She gets up at 5:30. We do not wake her up at 5:30 but she has programmed her tiny little motherboard to erupt into action sometime between 5:28 and 5:33 every single morning. She takes a nap at 1pm. If you put her down before that, she won't sleep. If you put her down after that she will only sleep for 30 minutes and then wake up early and grouchy just to punish you for your ignorance and tardiness. If she hasn't had two hours of sleep for a nap she will strike during the night and declare herself "overtired" which means that she'll sit up for hours while crying, rubbing her eyes, and generally looking exhausted but stubborn.

I thought that kids grew out of these behaviors, if they ever developed them at all, but my child is living proof that these tiny people can hang on for dear life to habits that don't care if Dr. Sears says that they are too old for.

So, I keep her on her schedule, and we do things together all day. And, I get little else done other than the bare necessities in the way of cooking and cleaning and laundry.

Our daily life together is MUCH different than the schedule I hear described at the playtimes we attend, and as much as I yearn for a carefree, go-with-the-flow kind of existence I am slowly coming around to the fact that our cards just don't read that way, and it's okay. Her health and happiness are my primary concern and unfortunately for my dear husband, our dinner menu, my mental health, and sometimes my showering frequency suffers for it.

How's that for honesty about my absence?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Month Eight

What can I say that hasn't been said before in recent months? Life is busy, and I'm late...again. Brooke is turning into a little person with a severe case of ADHD so most of my day is something like: run, run, run, run, clean sweet potato off of every surface in the house, run, run...30 minute nap. We repeat this three times and then she goes to bed and I'm left wandering around the house with Corey trying to figure out why our living room looks like Chernobyl and when the last time I ate something that wasn't pureed was.

In all seriousness, Brooke is really turning into a person. She crawls, she pulls herself up onto every surface in the house, she says "Dada" over and over again, and she eats EVERYTHING. She's tried pears, peaches, peas, broccoli, mango, squash, cantaloupe, apples, pluots, nectarines, blueberries, green beans, chicken, turkey, and plums. She likes all of it, but really prefers just to have a huge mound of cheerios (organic, and fruit juice sweetened, thank you) sitting in front of her while she watches "Baby Signing Time".

We discovered around month seven that although she is rather outgoing at home, once in public she clams up like a mute, so I have been making it a priority to take her to storytime whenever I can. Unfortunately, the local baby times are all inconvenient to her nap schedule so we don't always make it, but I am happy to say that she seems to be understanding that there are other people in the universe other than Mommy and Daddy and Sprocket (who Brooke is still completely in love with (and it remains unrequited)).

We visited another doctor this month, the geneticist that it took four months to get an appointment with. We are so blessed that every doctor we've taken Brooke to has been kind and patient, especially those at Phoenix Children's Hospital. We will be having several genetic tests run on Brooke soon, some for general hearing loss, and some because she shows a few signs of a genetic syndrome called Waardenburg. If you're related to us and you're reading this, rest assured that we will let you know if she tests positive for this syndrome because it could possibly be in either gene pool and could affect future generations, but I'm not stirring up drama without knowing.

Brooke's sleeping has run the gamut from terrible to much improved, and we think that teething is particularly difficult for this one because although she still just has her bottom two teeth, she has been grabbing her ears and jaw and drooling like a mad woman. We are hopeful that when the top ones come in she will have a very short reprieve and we can get an idea of her baseline sleep patterns.

We spent her eighth month birthday celebrating in Pinetop with Grandma and Grandpa, and Brooke will be blessed to spend her ninth month birthday with her other four grandparents in Tennessee, three of which she hasn't met yet.

If I say that we are looking forward to all the headaches that come with traveling with a pint-sized demon I would be lying, but we are excited to be taking a vacation together, see some new parts of the country, and introduce Brooke to more of her family. Also, we will be going to the top rated aquarium in the country, a candy factory (hello, heaven) and playing something called "Hillbilly Golf" which may or may not involve noodling a catfish and taking shots of moonshine. I will update you post-activity.

If you have some extra time on the 2nd and 8th, please say a little prayer for the passengers on our flights. If Brooke gets too rowdy we may not be able to afford the drink tab for all of them, so I may be bringing my gallon sized ziploc to security full of pureed apples, hand sanitizer, and Patron silver.

Again, apologies for the lateness. If any of you would like to volunteer your babysitting services while I type up next months blog please feel free to show up at any time. I would be misguided if I didn't suggest bringing galoshes, a duck call, and two changes of clothes. You never know when terror will strike!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Month Seven

Writing these posts is always harder than I'd imagined they would be, mainly because it is so difficult to remember a time when Brooke hasn't been doing the things she does now.

Brooke army crawls everywhere, and although she will crawl the normal way for a few feet she is still faster on the belly so she resorts to that in order to get to where she's going (Sprocket's food dish, the refrigerator, the dog door) at lightning speed.

She is now pulling herself into a standing position while grabbing onto things, which mostly means that my name has been changed from Christina to "Mommy, the infant jungle-gym". She's not very good at balancing, but once she gets her knees locked out she can do a dance that combines the twist and the robot in a standing position for quite a while, which means that her crib got bumped down this month.

We are working on baby sign language and she now recognizes several signs like "Milk" and "Finished", although it's still too early to expect her to do them back. They say that babies can learn to sign as early as nine months so we're hopeful that she'll be communicating with us in no time.

Brooke has had tons of new food this month, including trying out puffs which she absolutely loves. Her pincher grasp and hand-eye coordination is getting better by the day, and I'm finding fewer and fewer puffs surrounding the high chair now, much to Sprocket's dismay. She enjoys almost everything that I've made for her including avocado, peaches, pears, raspberries, apples, bananas, plums and peas and has only made one entertaining face and that was to the mangoes. I love making all of her food from fresh, organic produce as it makes me feel motherly to be steaming and pureeing fruits and veggies in the kitchen while she watches her Baby Signing Time DVD.

This month Brooke and I, along with Gramma, went to see a pediatric opthamologist to take a look at her eyesight and see if there are any concerns that she may have a syndrome that affects both her ears and eyes. He didn't see any cause for worry, so we can check another specialist off of our list. If she had a brain tumor that was pushing on her cochlea it could cause hearing loss and also it would impact her sight, so we were definitely excited to hear the good news. Next month we meet with the genetics team so that is the big, scary appointment that will tell us everything that we can find out medically at this point in her life.

Brooke's one fat, pearly tooth is still all alone, even though she's been gnawing on everything she can get her hands on for a couple weeks now. Every day I think that its twin will come poking through, and I pray for a little relief for her tiny mouth, but it has been stubborn so far.

We also had a fun trip to the aquarium in Tempe with the local AZ Deaf and Blind Academy Outreach. It was so wonderful to see other hearing impaired children and it's nice to be reminded that they are just normal kids. Brooke is always the youngest (by far) around, but I often think that it's more of a benefit for Corey and I right now and that Brooke will have a good time later. She did enjoy the fish though, and really enjoyed picking out furniture with us afterwards since we were a thousand miles away from home near big furniture stores.

Brooke is sleeping better now (for the most part) and often sleeps from 6pm until one or two in the morning before waking to eat. Although I know people who have their six week old babies sleeping all the way through the night, that really doesn't seem to be an option for her at the moment so I will happily get up once or twice to nurse her. We do have problems with her waking up for the day between four-thirty and five a.m. (no matter what time she goes to bed) so Corey and I are slowly becoming morning people (or, more accurately, people who wake up early even though they are grouchy and ill-functioning). Her naps are still thirty minutes long - no shorter, and no longer. Despite following the advice from every sleep training 'expert' we can find, her naps don't deviate from this, so we're guessing that she's just one of those kids that doesn't nap. She wakes up with boundless energy, so our pediatrician says she gets what she needs.

Both her Daddy's and her furry brother's birthdays are this month so Brooke is in a present buying mood lately. I'm off to find her a part-time bib modeling gig so we can afford her taste in gifts.

'til next month!