Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Build-up to Christmas

We're all eagerly anticipating Christmas this year.  I think it even started before Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving itself was a blast.  Jonathan and his dad have a long tradition of getting up early on Thanksgiving morning, putting on baseball caps, and listening to Christmas music while prepping food.  Allie got to join in this year and put on her own baseball cap.  She didn't understand why this was a necessary step in the process but she seemed to enjoy the ritual of it.

We had some local friends over for Thanksgiving dinner.

Andrew decided to go silverware-free.  He especially liked eating the apple pie and whipped cream face first.


We then jumped right into Christmas preparation.  We decorated the tree.

Went to my work's kids holiday party.  (Andrew participated this year instead of just making me chase him!)

We set up the Christmas village.

Jonathan and Allie baked cookies.  Andrew and I ate them. 

The kids goofed off taking silly selfies.

Fell asleep reading. 

 Enjoyed seeing if they both could fit in assorted boxes.

Played outside on warmer days.

And cuddled inside when it was colder.

Jonathan and Allie went ice skating.

While Andrew and I stayed cozy at home.

Allie helped us box up some of their old toys to give away and re-discovered some old gifts in the process.

And, I practiced my braiding skills.  Allie said it was a good try but suggested I still need some lessons from her BFF Abby.

I somehow didn't take any pictures during some of our other outings, like Allie's girl scout trip to the Nutcracker, Abby's annual chocolate pretzel party, and Jonathan's birthday.  It's been a busy month! 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Farewell to our furry friend

Our beloved curmudgeonly cat Sam passed away last week.  He was 10 years old and was survived by his litter mate Maisie, two usually-too-loud small people Allison and Andrew who liked to try to find him when he was doing his best to avoid them, and his long-time owners Michelle and Jonathan.  He was born in Chicago and adopted at about 4 months old.  He was initially hesitant about joining his adopted family, and even slapped his sister Maisie for being so affectionate during adoption day.

Sam was a little disgruntled about Jonathan when he started coming around. He would knock over his cups, give him angry eyes, and act like Jonathan was intruding on his space. Luckily for everyone, Sam eventually warmed to his new human parent.

He lived a calm life with the exception of the time Michelle tried to walk him on a leash once.  It did not go well.

Sam was always up for a head scratch, loved meal time, and was good company.  He will be missed.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Reduced sensation

Allie with one of her kindergarten friends

Allie and I were shopping yesterday for this year's holiday drive sponsored family, and trying to decide which fuzzy blankets were the coziest.  Allie was riding in the cart as I pushed her from blanket to blanket so she could test which was the softest.  I parked her by one and she said something along the lines of "I need to be closer because just Righty can feel it from here."  I asked why it wasn't good enough for just Righty to touch it, and she gave a really interesting reply.  She said that her right hand can feel that the blanket is squishy but not that it is soft. 

Way back when Allie was first diagnosed, we were told that reduced sensation in her affected side is common. We were instructed to get brushes and vibrating toys to rub on her right side to increase sensation and awareness. (Side note, just because Amazon is selling a vibrating brush in the toy section, do not assume it is actually meant for kids. We got some, ummm, rather adult items that way.)  As Allie got more control and awareness with her right side, the notion that it doesn't really feel the same to her escaped me.

In that moment at the store, I said that was really interesting and we joked that it was a good thing she had her nose to rub on things, and we kept shopping. Later that night, we decided to run an "experiment" to see what felt different between her right and left sides.  We concluded that her right arm down to her elbow felt the same, but it was different from her elbow to her fingers. Her right foot from the ankle down couldn't decipher the softness either.  We then got some warm water to see if those parts could feel heat the same, which she said they did.

I think it's great that she is able to express these things, and that she does it in such a matter of fact way.  There was never a hint of disappointment but rather openness and curiosity.  She rather liked being the subject of our experiment.  We got lucky that she has such a good attitude about everything.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Halloween 2016

Halloween this year was a mixed bag.  Allie loved it and Andrew hated most of it. 

Andrew's school had a parade, "Trunk or Treating," and a classroom party on the Friday before Halloween.  Andrew wouldn't wear his costume so he did the parade in his street clothes.  As soon as he saw me, he started saying "let's go home."  He screamed and cried the whole parade because he thought I was going to take him home but for some reason we kept walking around the perimeter of the grass. 

Here's one of his happier moments. 

We then got to "Trunk or Treating," which he enjoyed.


But when it came time to go inside for the party, all hell broke loose.  He was not OK with this.

Allison and I then went to New York and were away for the weekend. Not the best note to leave on. Luckily Bonnie came  to keep the boys company.

Halloween itself was pretty fun.  Bonnie and I watched Allie's school parade and went to her class for a party.

Bonnie, Andrew, and I hung out at the house while Jonathan and Allie went trick or treating.  Andrew did try to go to one house but got upset when he couldn't go inside to play. Maybe next year.

We tried to get a family picture but Andrew objected and collapsed on the ground behind us crying. Oh, the terrible twos.  They don't last forever... right???

New York Girls Trip

Allie has been studying the Statute of Liberty at school so she and I took the train up last weekend for a quick visit.  We haven't gotten to spend much one-on-one time with each other lately; it was really nice.

She was great on the trains.  We even accidentally sat in the quiet car on the way there and we didn't get kicked out!

We made it to out hotel and Allie had her first Statue of Liberty sighting.  Except this was a little gold one that happened to be by a bald eagle.

Allie found a little girl in the lobby and immediately started playing with her.  She's really good with little kids.

We woke up to a cool view, then we were off to find bagels.

We took a cab to the 9/11 memorial... 

 Then started our walk to the Statue of Liberty.  It was very exciting.

Pretty soon, we ran into some statues.  Allie wanted to take a picture next to every one of them.

This was titled "eyes"... OK?

We got to the ferry to go to Liberty Island.

It was cold but very exciting. 

Once we got on the island, Allie was impressed by how big the statue was in person, liked being able to go inside of it, and she particularly liked the gift shop. We got some souvenir pencils for her classmates then headed back to the hotel for some rest.

Pita chips in bed means we slept in crumbs that night.

 After a little break, we went for a walk to Central Park.  She got a balloon flower at the zoo.

 Climbed a huge rock.

Rode the carousel a couple times.

Played in an awesome sand playground.

Walked through Times Square and got a caricature drawn...

Then had a gigantic dessert for dinner.

And then called it a night.

The next morning was a little rough.  We were worn out. 

After a quick breakfast we walked to the American Girl store to get a doll.  

Allie named it All (pronounced "Al") because it is a mini-Allison.

Then we went home.  It was a fantastic trip with my little girl.