Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ultrasound of our Baby Girl!

On Tuesday we had another ultrasound of our little girl. They were concerned because I was not showing much growth since beginning of November. But everything looks good! Our little girl is already bigger than Joshua was when he was born! They estimate that she weighs about four pounds and 14 ounces.

So, here we are at 35 weeks in our pregnancy and things are going well. Only 33 days until our due date!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eggs, Eggs Everywhere!

The other day Joshua and I made a trip to the store and brought home lots of groceries to put away. Joshua was working on the canned foods -- thought they rarely make it into the cupboards, he does organize them nicely on the kitchen floor -- while I put away the produce.

I closed the refrigerator and turned to start on the next bag of food when I realized Joshua had moved on from the cans and had located the carton of eggs. You can imagine how much fun an two year old can have with a dozen eggs.

He had managed to shatter at least half a dozen all over the kitchen cabinets and floor. I quickly scooped him up to remove him from the 'fun', only to realize too late that he had also sat on an egg. Now the egg dripping from his pants was spread through the dining room and all over me. Oh what fun!

He just smiled so innocently at me! I can't help but laugh as I remember that look on his face. He quickly wiped his hands in his hair and then held them up for me to clean. Too bad I jumped into clean up mode before I even thought of grabbing the camera.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Joshua Turns Two

Today is Joshua's second birthday. I can hardly believe it has really been two years since he was born. We had a quiet celebration at home as a family. I made cupcakes for the party, but Joshua refused to even touch one though he did like the candles!

Joshua received a Tickle-Me Elmo from Mommy and Daddy. He loves Elmo... not because he saw him on TV, but because the church nursery has a Dress-Me-Silly Elmo toy that he plays with every Sunday.

It snowed on his birthday... technically the second snowfall of the year, but the first one he got to play in. I was amazed how much he loved the snow. Before we went outside, he stood at the sliding glass door for the longest time just watching it fall.

What a wonderful day! I am so thankful for my little boy. It is amazing to watch him discover the world!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Our little organizer!

Joshua is so organized about everything he does. Here are some pictures of him in action at preschool. He took all the tubes off the shelf and placed them, one by one, in a line on the table. He then proceeded to move them, one at a time, to a grouping on the floor.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving!

There is so much to be thankful for this year -- my wonderful hubby, my amazing son, our great church, God's provisions and, of coarse, our little girl coming soon in January.

What a beautiful day! Thanksgiving was amazingly warm here. We went outside to enjoy the leaves falling from the trees. It started to sprinkle as we headed inside to our dinner; we made it in just before the storm hit and the downpour started.

It was a quite weekend for us, just the three of us. We had a nice feast, with all the fixings (thought I didn't cook a whole turkey, just a little breast). We did a little shopping, watched a few movies and enjoyed some great down-time together.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cold November Day

Today is a cold November day -- rainy and dreary. It's the perfect type of day to curl up under a blanket with a good book. Nothing much is happening. Joshua is taking a nap (or suppose to be, though I just heard him talking to his teddy bear). I am thinking about laying down for a little while myself.

Everything is going well in our day to day lives. Joshua is finally putting on weight. He is actually on the growth charts for the first time since he was born. He is still not chubby by any means, but he is growing.

The only big concern we have is Joshua's speech. He really only has about four words he can say. We have requested a speech evaluation for him, so hopefully he will be able to start speech therapy in the next month or two.

Joshua is still enjoying preschool. He gets so excited whenever we drive up to the building. They told me today that he was squealing with delight during their different activity times (normally he is almost silent while he is there). Today he brought home a little paper turkey he made, and a finger-painting picture he did last week.

Our soon-expected baby girl is growing well. We had a little concern last month because my measurements were falling behind as they did with Joshua, but over the last few weeks those measurements seem to have caught up. They are keeping a close eye on things, but so far everything in this pregnancy is going very well.

Darren is keeping busy with school. He has gotten past midterms and is now looking toward all his final papers. The baby is due during finals week, so he is working to get a little ahead.

He is enjoying his Field Education placement at First Presbyterian Church of Hamilton Square. He is teaching his first Sunday School class on the work of Christ (and doing very well at it, I might add). And this Sunday will be his first opportunity to preach in church.

My days are mostly filled with Joshua, taking care of the house and running the accounting side of Darren's web business. It keeps me busy, especially these days when house work seems to take much longer than it use to. Most days I try to fit in a little nap, otherwise I am completely exhausted by the time Darren gets home in the evenings.

So, things are going well. We are looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving at home, a little time to relax together. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And drop us a note when you get a chance.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Halloween!

Joshua dressed up like a monkey for his Halloween party this year. We practiced making monkey noises for weeks, but the day of the party he refused to make a sound. Oh well, he still made a cute monkey.

Every year the preschool has a Halloween parade for the little kids. They all get dressed up and walk around the apartment complex. It was so cute to watch. Joshua's class rode in the buggy.

I included a picture of the little pumpkin Joshua carved with his Developmental Therapist. They also decorated a pumpkin at preschool.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sunny Fall Weather

We are having such beautiful, fall weather. The wind is blowing the changing leaves from the trees as we sit outside in the 70+ degree warmth. Joshua is especially enjoying the playground near our apartment. Thought you might enjoy some pictures.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Turkey Hunt!

Joshua and his class went on a nature walk on Thursday to collect pine cones. They were so excited to encounter five wild turkeys. Their teacher said they had great fun chasing the turkeys around the clearing. Here are some scenes from that day... the turkeys escaped before they could take a picture.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Preschool!

Joshua started Preschool in September. He goes two mornings a week to the Princeton Seminary daycare that is just a few blocks from our apartment. We decided to enroll him this year to expose him to other children his age, and inspire him to try new things.

Well, he loves his class. They are exploring colors (red and green, so far) through coloring, water painting and finger painting. He has started to pay more attention to nature around him due to the nature collecting and nature walks they take. He also gets even more excited about music and has started dancing when he hears a song he likes. It has been so great.

Here are some pictures of music time and art time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Feeling Better

Today was the start of week 24 of my pregnancy. I am finally starting to feel consistently better. The nausea has let up (I haven't lost my lunch in over 3 weeks now) and my energy levels are rising again. Overall, this pregnancy has been very similar to the last one, except this time I'm chasing around a 21 month old.

So far everything looks good with this little girl. My doctor will be keeping a close eye on us as we get further along, to make sure the baby's growth stays on track. We are praying for a full-term, healthy little girl come January.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nuclear Medicine

Joshua and I drove down to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia early this morning. He had an appointment for a stomach emptying scan with the nuclear medicine department. I was not sure what to expect, but things went okay.

They put two drops of some radioactive material to a glass of milk and gave it to Joshua to drink. After drinking a few ounces of milk, Joshua was laid on a table that would slide him into position over the cameras. They then taped him down to the table for over an hour and took constant pictures of this radioactive milk progressing through his digestive system.

Joshua did very well. I was able to sit with him the entire time. We watched a few Baby Einstein videos and played peak-a-boo. The technician was very impressed. She said most kids freak out and scream the entire time.

They didn't give us any idea how it went. Our doctor should receive the results early next week and call us with any info. This was the last of the non-invasive tests they can do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hearing Test

Joshua had a hearing test this morning. One of his physical therapists encouraged us to get it because of his continued speech delays. He passed the test with flying colors. No problems with his hearing... he is just taking his time learning how to talk.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Joshua walks!

Joshua has been really working on his walking skills, with the help of his occupational therapist. Well, today he finally figured out that he can walk on his own. He walked across the room to me several times and was so thrilled. He is still not convinced that he wants to do this all the time, but that will come soon.

We are so excited by his progress. Today we met his new occupational therapist, Bridget (his previous O.T. recently got another job). He warmed up to her very quickly and was quite responsive to her encouragement. I'm not sure how she did it, but she had him walking on his own before she left.

So, we enter a new phase of parenthood. We better finish all that childproofing we've been procrastinating!

Doctor visits this week

Last week Joshua had his first appointment with the gastroenterologist, Dr. Mascarenhas. It was mostly an introductory meeting, with more follow up to come. She did eliminate several possible issues from the list, and ordered some more blood work and tests.

This week we met with the Feeding Team at CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) to evaluate what is happening with his eating. The evaluation included a developmental pediatrician, a nutritionist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist and a psychologist. It was a long day, but Joshua was a trooper.

They gave us a short report at the end of the appointment, with their findings and recommendations -- the full report will come in the six weeks. They confirmed the categorization of "Failure to Thrive", and observed his developmental delays. On the positive side, they eliminated any sensory processing issues as a possible cause of problems, and confirmed that his oral motor and swallowing skills were functional for feeding.

Their recommendations were fairly straight forward. Joshua has started taking daily vitamins and will begin visiting our pediatrician every two to three weeks to monitor his weight. They also suggested a few changes in our feeding techniques to help with intake volume. We will following up with them in six to eight weeks, after we complete the recommended lab work.

Thank you for your prayers. It was wonderful to receive input from so many different disciplines. And they are really working well with our G.I. doctor. We very are encouraged by this team of support with which we have been provided.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Welcome, Baby Sammy!

Welcome to our brand new nephew, Samuel Andrew!
He was born to Christy's sister Rebecca and her husband Andy on July 18, at 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 21 inches long.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Our Big Announcement

We are having a baby!!!

Our new baby is due on January 15, 2008. We are currently 17 weeks along, so we will hopefully find out the gender in early September at our next ultrasound.

It has been a little crazy with all the stuff Joshua has been going through. And I have been VERY nauseous for months now. But we are very excited to add another little member to our family.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Occupational Therapy

Laurie, an Occupational Therapist at Children's Specialized Hospital here in New Jersey, has been visiting Joshua once a week now for about a month. Her primary focus so far has been his gross motor skills -- strengthening his upper body, so he can learn to walk.

Joshua loves playing with her. She makes him work hard, but he gets so excited by all the things he is able to do. He now knows that he can stand up without having to hold on to anything. Though he is not walking on his own yet, he is finally strong enough to walk holding onto only one hand instead of both. We are very excited about his progress.

Donna, another therapist from Early Intervention, also visits once a week. She is working on developmental issues with Joshua -- fine motor skills, communication and sensory issues. Joshua has already learned several words in sign language; this has greatly reduced his frustration (and mine). Now he can indicate to us when he wants more to eat, or is all done and he knows how to ask for something when he wants it.

Next week Joshua has an appointment with a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. They will be checking for any medical reason for his lack of weight gain. After that, we will be meeting with a feeding evaluation team to determine what we can do to help his eating issues. I am very hopeful that this will make meals less stressful on everyone.

We are very excited about the progress Joshua has shown in this short time and are enjoying his growing confidence and communication skills.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Deutsche Sprache, Schwere Sprache

On Wednesday last week I sat down at a big table in a quiet little corner room squarely in the middle of the Princeton University campus, and took my 2-hour German final exam. It was a thing to behold, for sure. Nine days earlier I had taken the practice exam for our 6-week intensive summer course, and failed miserably.

At least it had taught me that I had been studying all the wrong things. After digging in for the next week, I managed to get a decent hold on the language and (thanks to my speedy electronic dictionary) passed the exam.

Not only am I finally free to enjoy a little summer vacation, but that's one more big step toward applying to Ph.D. programs next year. One of my main goals for our three years in Princeton is to get my languages done -- Greek, Latin, German, and possibly French, depending on where I end up attending -- and as of last week I have two down! I will be taking Latin at the university during the upcoming school year, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with it rather than doing a summer intensive.

This fall also brings me to the first of two field education internships. I will be serving from September to May at Hamilton Square Presbyterian Church, a relatively small and active congregation about 15 minutes drive from Princeton. I will have the chance to participate in leading worship and to preach at least four times, but my position will focus mainly on teaching adult education classes. It's very exciting and not a little bit terrifying; teaching may be what I want to do with the rest of my life, and this will be an important time to determine whether or not I like it and am any good at it.

But now, I rest ...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Update from Pediatrician

I had a conversation with Joshua's pediatrician today. She received the lab results from the blood work. Everything looked completely normal. There were no indications that Joshua has anything medically wrong.

She asked that we bring a copy of the lab results to the G.I. doctor when we see him in August.

So, I guess this is good news. I'm relieved that they didn't find anything seriously wrong, but it means we still have no idea how to fix this weight issue.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Early Intervention - meeting #2

Darren and I met with the Early Intervention Service Coordinator. They are recommending that we have an Occupational Therapist once a week to work on feeding and speech, and a Physical therapist once a week to work on gross and fine motor skills. They will be contacting us in the next two weeks to set up our regular meeting times.

We don't know yet what our cost share will be. Our financial situation was too complex for the Service Coordinator to determine. They will send our info to the state and hopefully have a response within a week.

In addition to their play therapy with Joshua, Early Intervention is really focused on teaching parents what they can do to help their child's development. Darren and I have a summer of learning ahead of us.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

18 month appointment

Joshua had his 18 month doctor's appointment today. It was a little bit discouraging. Over the last two months he lost 3 ounces instead of gaining the couple pounds we were hoping for.

The doctor ordered a bunch of lab work. He had to get blood drawn. This was probably more distressing for me than for Joshua. He is such a trooper.

Our pediatrician has asked that we set up appointments with the G.I. team and the feeding team with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The G.I. appointment is set up for mid-August. The feeding team should be setting up an appointment with us in the next two weeks.

Please keep praying for our little boy.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

"Early Intervention"

Joshua received a visit this morning from a speech therapist and a physical therapist who work with the state's Early Intervention program. Our pediatrician recommended us to the program because of Joshua's delay in walking and speaking. They came to our home to evaluate Joshua's development level and his eligibility for the program.

At the end of two playful hours, they sat down and went over the results with us. Joshua does qualify for early intervention. He is lagging most significantly in his communication skills, especially speech. He is also behind in his gross motor skills, like walking, and in his fine motor skills, mostly related to his eating.

The first recommendation was to give Joshua a complete nutritional evaluation, including a visit with a gastrointestinal doctor, to determine if there may be a problem. They physical therapist noticed several factors that normally point to a G.I. issue. We will need to receive a referral from the pediatrician for this appointment (our next appointment is in two weeks).

In two weeks, we will meet with a service coordinator from Early Intervention to devise a six month strategy for Joshua (and to discuss all the financials). The standard plan includes a therapist coming to the home once a week, working with Joshua and teaching Darren and I howo to help Joshua during the week.

Overall, the evaluation went well, but I was a little discouraged that Joshua has fallen so far behind in so many areas. I am just thankful that we will receive the support to learn how to help him.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Joshua growing?

Last month when Joshua went in for his 15 month doctor's appointment, they were very concerned that he had only gained ten ounces in three months. The doctor request that we bring him back in a month for a weight check. If he had not gained more weight, they wanted to start testing for something that might indicate why he seemed to be lacking the nutrition he needed to grow.

Well, for the next 4 weeks, I stuffed that kid full of anything he would eat. We shifted from three meals a day to four meals a day. And measured everything he ate so we knew exactly how much he had consumed (and often had to encourage him to take a few more bites).

All that hard work paid off. This morning we returned to the doctor's for our scheduled weight check and Joshua had gained almost two pounds in those four weeks. They suggest that we keep him on this new schedule and get some meat on his bones. This says there is nothing physically wrong with him... he is just a fussy eater!

Thank you all for your prayers! Joshua now weighs 20 pounds and is 32 inches tall. Horrah!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Family Pictures

We finally managed to find the time to have family pictures taken. In these pictures, Joshua is 15 months old.

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