Friday, June 29, 2012

Allie did two really cool two handed things tonight totally on her own.

First, she was practicing her standing tonight and getting a big kick out of her toy car.  We were running it up and down her legs and onto her stomach.  She was laughing and having a great time when she shocked us and grabbed onto the truck with both hands. 

Second, Jonathan, Allie, and I were rolling a big ball back and forth.  She started off by pushing the ball to us with Lefty.  She then picked up the ball with both hands and started bouncing the ball towards us!  We are so proud of her.

Allie's self care skills have really taken off lately too.  After her bath tonight, we gave her a tooth brush and told her to brush her teeth.  She did.  Then we gave her a hair brush and told her to brush her hair.  She did.  She also helps take off her shirts, socks, and shoes.  She's a helpful girl.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Big Stander

Allie has been working a lot on her standing and she is getting really good at it.  She can stand totally on her own without any support for a few seconds at a time and can stand while holding onto something or leaning for minutes.

We want her to start taking independent steps but she is a cautions person and is not willing to put herself out there.  I know that she is more than capable of walking; she is just too afraid.  Her physical therapist suggested that we have Allie stand with her back up to the couch then sit just a step or two away from her.  The only problem with this is that Allie really enjoys just standing there.

Today, I sat there for several minutes while Allie gleefully played with the couch cushions, the pillows, pointed at a balloon, blew kisses, told me about her imaginary hat and toy car... basically everything but walking.  Proper motivation is needed.  I'm just not sure what that is.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Two Handed Mischief

Allie and I were getting ready to leave for daycare this morning and asked her to brush her hair.  I left her room to finish packing her bag and I came back to find that she had made her way to the bookshelf and was frantically throwing her toys on the ground.  It took me a moment to realize that her disobedience came in the form of a box of toys for each hand.  Check out how far in the blue box Righty is!

Also, take note of her right toe curling.  This is something I have been noticing a lot lately even though it has been happening for a while.  Her right toes curl when she is sitting and actively doing something.  She has no problem straightening them out if you touch her right foot and they are in a great position when she walks.  Her right leg is a little weaker than her left leg and it might be a little smaller but the difference is pretty negligible.  One of her physical therapists even suggested that maybe Allie has monoplegia (meaning one limb is affected) instead of her diagnosed hemiplegia (meaning an entire side is affected).  I take that to mean that her leg is in pretty good shape.

It seems to me that the toe curling is an obvious remnant of her right leg impairment.  However, I am currently looking over at Jonathan who is doing exactly the same thing with his foot while watching TV.  Stroke or genetic? I wonder what it would be like not to have to ask that question.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

New Toy

Jonathan and I have been extraordinarily conservative (aka stingy) buying Allie toys.  Our home is very small and can't house nearly all the stuff that Allie would love to have.  I am guilty of boxing up and donating toys that she is still enjoying because she is "almost" too big for them. 

We have been circling around the idea of buying a walker for a few weeks now and we finally broke down and bought this gigantic green dinosaur that she can use as a walker or a bike.

In riding form, the dinosaur's back legs snap together to form a seat.  This is a great balance exercise for her.  Allie quickly figured out how to push herself backwards.  Granted, she can only go a few feet in any one direction (back to the small home thing) but she doesn't care.

In walker form, the legs separate to allow room for the kid to walk.  Allie took one independent step while playing with it like this and we were so happy.  She also has to hold on with both hands and this gives Righty a good stretch.  Her right pointer and thumb still like to be fisted so we celebrate any fun opportunity to get them in a more functional position.

As far as we can tell, Allie's only complaint is that Dada keeps tickling her when she is trying to ride.  It's a rough life.

Allie has become very Mama centric lately and I can't say that I hate it.  She has never been particularly cuddly but suddenly she wants to nuzzle and hold my hand all the time.  I am dreading the day when Mama is out and Dada is in.  Jonathan is handling it better than I would be.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Our Green Eyed Monster

Allie did a few brand new things today, but not all of them were good.  Let's start with the positives...

She held herself up with her left hand and she used Righty to play.


 Then, she figured out how to turn pages with Righty.

Now... the bad.

We went out to lunch with another couple and their two month old daughter.  Jonathan and I were cooing over the little baby, who was incredibly cute.  Allie was sitting on my lap when she calmly leaned over and bit me!  Jealously is not a good look on her.

Later in the night, we had her walking between Jonathan and me as part of her regular physical therapy exercise.  She got annoyed, leaned over pretending to hug me, and she bit me again!  The little jerk!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Field Trip Fail

Allie's daycare went to a local park that has a water-play area.  It didn't go very well.  

It took longer than expected for the kids to get on the bus and get down to the park.  By the time that they arrived, Allie was hot and tired.  She was surprised to see me at the park but very skeptical of these water spouts that the other kids were playing in.  She timidly walked over to the spout, it sprayed her in the face, and this just ruined her day.  

Several minutes and many tears later, she got to sit down in a dry corner and play with Sam.  Sam and Allie are in different classes at daycare, so they see each other often but don't interact much on a typical day.  That being said, they seem to like each other...

Allie: "Hey Sam, what's up?"  
Sam: "I don't think I've ever seen you in a swimsuit before... you look nice!"

Allie: "Oh Sam, you make me blush!"  

Sam: "Here... let me show you how to empty this toy dump truck."

Allie: "Wow.  You are so knowledgeable about mechanics."  

Sam: "Let me show you how this swimsuit comes off too..."
Allie: "Sam!  I thought we were just friends!"

After a brief lunch, Allie loaded back on the bus and she and I parted ways.   Not the happiest field trip ever, but now I know to watch out for Sam!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Today marks Jonathan's second Father's day with our darling little Allie.  He was greeted in bed with sleepy-eyed Allie carrying a Father's Day card and then got a new coupon book full of get out of chore or do fun things slips.

Jonathan then went for a jog while I made homemade Dutch Baby pancakes, sausage, hand-dipped white chocolate covered strawberries, assorted fruits, and coffee.  It was all pretty delicious, if I do say so myself.

In honor of our fathers, I would like to take the opportunity to share some photos of our own dads.

My Dad, Dave
Dancing at my wedding

My dad and me when I was about 1 year old


Boating with one of the kids.  By looks alone, I am guessing that this is my older brother Jason but I'm not sure.

Snow ball fight in Salt Lake City with my little brother Mikko.  I think Mikko is shoving a snow ball down our dad's pants.

Allie's first visit with Granpa.

Jonathan's Dad, Tom  
Tom and little Jonathan

Tom (center) with his granddaughter Erika and his friends Al (left) and Pete (right).

Jonathan and Tom at the airport on Jonathan's way to a Boyscout trip.  Dr Ahlberg, who was Jonathan's scout master, and his son Brady are on the right.

Starting at Jonathan (top left) and going clockwise, Tom, Joanthan's brother-in-law Joel, and Joel's sons Noah and Elliot.
Tom and Jonathan at Jonathan's college graduation.
Tom and his grandson Noah

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mexican Mix-Up

Tonight, we were all excited to go to dinner at this gourmet Mexican restaurant located on the historic main street in the town that we are staying in.  We got there right after it opened and it was already packed.  We put our name on the waiting list, waited over a half hour, and were ecstatic to have our name called.

We got to our table and asked for a high chair for Allie... they didn't have any!  We tried to tough it out with Allie sitting on my lap but she kept shouting and we were getting weird looks from all of our surrounding tables.  So, we left. 

We ended up at a much-less gourmet Mexican restaurant that had pictures of its food on the menu and was located in strip mall with a strip club and a Planned Parenthood.  We got seated outside, directly adjacent to a very busy road with a great view of a Hooters billboard.  I think Jonathan's expression sums up how he felt about it.

About half way through our meal, a kid got seated next to our table and decided to dance for us.  He stood next to our table, made creepy eye contact, and wiggled... for 20 minutes.  Allie absolutely loved it.  Jonathan and I could have done without it.

Not quite the evening that we had in mind but it was entertaining none the less.

Beach Baby

In honor of the 100th Allie Growing Up post, here are some beach photos of our non-sick baby.

Allie has been getting lots of practice with her new favorite word: "No!"  We move a toy slightly out of reach and she shouts "No! No! No! No!" while shaking her head left to right.  I was in a store the other day and Allie started snatching things off the shelf, throwing them on the ground, and shouting "No! No! No!"  I was mortified in the proud kind of way and carried her out of the store.

As I sat writing this entry, Jonathan was playing with Allie trying to get her to cruise back and forth on the couch.  Then, Allie took her first by-herself sideways step to get her musical stuffed dog!  Her physical therapist is so confused by Allie because she can take steps forward while holding our hands but she can't go sideways on furniture, which is supposed to be easier.  She's a perplexing girl.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spoon... or hat?

Allie is feeling much better today than she did yesterday.  She ate a bunch, played on the beach, and had some fun banging two spoons together.  It is so cool that she can use both hands to play.  She started doing it at dinner and I nearly cried.  It is amazing that such simple things can make me so happy.

Check out how much she supinates (turns her right wrist to the sky) at the end of the video.  It is something that you never think about but requires a lot of muscle movement.  This is one of her big occupational therapy movements that she is working on at the moment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Feeling much better today

Allie has been feeling much better today.  She got happier as the day progressed and we took full advantage of it.

We started off the morning by walking down the local boardwalk.  Allie wore out pretty quickly so we detoured back home so that she could take a long nap. In the afternoon, we went out to lunch (shown above) and then drove to some of the other local beaches.

It is funny how old Jonathan and I have become: we were were driving down the road, listening to NPR, and scoffing at the young-folks walking down the street in their skimpy clothes and barely disguised beer cans.  Don't they know that they are going to get sunburned and dehydrated?!?!  We rushed home, tucked Allie into bed, and played a riveting game of Monopoly.

Yeah... I don't know when I became the oldest 27-year old I know.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sicker than we thought

Cuddling in the exam room
Allie felt worse today than she did yesterday.  
She was up all night dry-heaving and looked pretty green this morning.  We called Allie's doctor's advice line and the nurse strongly encouraged us to bring Allie to a doctor ASAP.  We found a local urgent care center and brought Allie in right away.
We were concerned about dehydration and maybe some lung issues because she was breathing really hard.  What we were not expecting was a nasty ear infection.  We got a prescription for some antibiotics and were very quickly on our way.  
We had to get the prescription filled on the way home but we didn't expect that too take to long.  Two pharmacies and over an hour later, we finally had the antibiotics in hand and we were on our way back to the beach house.
We were told to be vigilant about dehydration so Jonathan and I set a timer and shot a straw-full of electrolyte water into her mouth every five minutes. 
Towards the end of the day, Allie seemed to be feeling a little better.  She played with her new get-well balloon and even gave us a few smiles.  But mostly she just slept.   Fingers crossed that she is feeling better tomorrow.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sicky is still sick... even on vacation

Jonathan, Allie and I headed out Friday for our first ever family vacation.  We rented an adorable beach house along the Delaware shore (below) and quickly got settled in.


All day Friday, Allie was great.  She was happy to be in a new place and really liked the beach.  I suspect that she mostly liked wearing her hat and sun glasses, which she wanted on all the time. 

Later that night, two of our friends from DC arrived to spend the night with us and enjoy a little beach time.  We were all expecting a relaxing evening but Allie had other plans.

Around 1am on Saturday morning, Allie woke up and melted down.  At first it sounded like she had a bad dream because her cry sounded scared.  Normally, when she has nightmares, it takes a minute or two for her to fully wake up and realize that whatever was scaring her was not actually there.  This time, she was still screaming in her terrified voice after 30 minutes and Jonathan and I were feeling pretty helpless.  

In an act of desperation, Jonathan took Allie for a half hour drive to try to settle her... and it worked!  They crept back into the house with Allie asleep.  The second that her head touched her pillow, she woke up and melted down again.  A few minutes later, Jonathan and Allie were back out the door and didn't return for an hour.  

This time, upon their arrival home, Allie was awake wearing just a diaper.  Jonathan flipped on the lights and was frantically trying to hand me a vaguely moist and sour smelling Allie.  She had thrown up A LOT in the car.  She was now as happy as could be and after a brief wipe down and new pajamas, she was sound asleep and slept through the rest of the night.

She woke up in the morning seeming pretty happy and we figured that she just ate something that disagreed with her.  We went to the beach and Allie had the time of her life.  She walked out to the water and squealed in delight as the water crashed onto her legs.  She was so happy.

After the beach, we went out to lunch with our friends and they took off back to DC in the evening.  Shortly after they left, Allie stopped putting on a brave face and we realized that she was actually pretty sick.  She had a fever, started throwing up, and was whining like no other.  A cold compress helped and she was able to get some rest through the night (only waking up every couple of hours when the compress fell off).

Today, she has been up and down.  She is still vomiting and feverish, but she is also reasonably chipper.  Allie spent the whole day indoors sleeping, throwing up, and trying to eat.  Poor girl.  You can see her in one of her happier moods below.

We are optimistic that Allie will be feeling better tomorrow.

But, one amazing therapy thing that Allie just started doing was her isolating her right pointer finger.  This is a totally big deal.  Her pointer and thumb are often a little stiff.  Check out her admiring her new found pointer below while sporting her sunglasses, of course.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Allie has been verging on sick all week.  We got a call from her teachers today saying that she was running a low fever so she got to come home early.  Jonathan and I filled her tiny bedroom with all the pillows in the house, brought in a big blanket, and lounged around blowing bubbles and reading her favorite books. 

The little girl seems to be feeling fine, except for a little cough and a runny nose.  I hope she sleeps it off.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Aquatic Therapy Evaluation

Allie and I had a great day together.  We went to the park this morning and she did a great job of holding onto the swing with Righty.

We then went to her evaluation for aquatic therapy and it looks like we will be starting next week.  She really liked the therapist and was willing to all sorts of things that she normally fights.  That seems like a good sign.  We will be working on developing her core strength to help her balance and also working on improving her protective reflexes on her right side so that she doesn't get hurt when she falls.

Allie has all the sudden decided that she likes being in quadruped (on her hands and knees).  We put her in that position so that she has to bare weight through her right arm, which she used to fight and scream about.  Now, we sing "Row Row Row Your Boat" while rocking her back and forth on quadruped and she gets the biggest kick out of it.

She is learning the "Row Row Row Your Boat" lyrics that end up coming out like "raa raa ra ba baaaa".  Tonight she sang her tune and put both hands on the ground for us to put her into quadruped.  Pretty amazing.

I am excited to see what aquatic therapy can do for her.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Allie's MN trip was a great success.  She had a really great time but  came back totally exhausted.  She has devised a new sleeping strategy to deal with the fact that it is still completely light outside at her 7:30pm bedtime.  I want a bunny eye mask!

Allie has made some great strides in her bi-manual (using both hands) activities.  Check out Allie holding up a green ball with both hands and a movie of her clapping.  I like how she turns into a total ham at the end of the video.  I think she got bashful when she realized that we were filming her.