Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Cat in the Hat

(Yes, I know this is late, but I had to do it anyway, because I was so proud of my handiwork!!)


Months and months before halloween, Avery, Brogan and I had discussed their costumes and had decided on a Cat in the Hat theme! I had a lot of fun figuring out how to turn Gabe and the children into the Cat, Thing 1, Thing 2, and Fish. I was really pleased with how they turned out, I just wish I’d been able to get a couple of better pictures!! (These were taken at the Trunk n Treat at church.)


Excited to go trick or treating!! (I didn’t get any good pictures of Oliver as Fish… isn’t that sad??!)

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Thing 1 and Thing 2!!

I made the costumes out of red fleece, with a zipper in the back, and padding in the neck. I got red mittens from the dollar store, which I was going to attach to the sleeves with red ribbon, but ran out of time! The wording I made by printing onto iron-on transfers, which I ironed onto white felt, and then ironed onto the fleece. The wigs were the most time-consuming part, but I love them! I used 1/2” elastic and grosgrain ribbon to make a base, and then tied on strips of blue tulle until they were nice and fluffy Smile




My 6’4” husband wore a 20” tall hat, and then added to his height even more by roller blading around the parking lot! I may have made his tail a little too long, since it still dragged on the ground even when he was in roller blades…! Oh well. I think he looked just like the Cat in the Hat, although I should have taken a moment to plan out his make up before I did it…










The trunk of our van, when I sat and handed out candy. Notice the ghost hanging on the right – Avery and Brogan and I made that one out of paper mache and rags. It had a face too, but it must have turned around just before I took this picture.

Before the trick or treating, there were activities and games inside. One of the activities was wheelchair racing…. :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Walking Machine

I am finally sitting down to write a quick update about our sweet Oliver!! He has been growing and developing so fast, and I feel bad about how little of his first year has been properly documented on our blog. He is already one!! His birthday was over a month ago!! I think time speeds up with each child.
Oliver had been working on walking for quite a while before his birthday! While Avery and I were in Texas for her surgery, Oliver started walking across rooms, and these days he spends more time walking than crawling! He loves being on his feet, and sometimes walks around clapping and squealing with excitement over the fact that he's walking! He still hasn't quite figured out what to do with his arms, which is pretty entertaining!! Sometimes he swings them back and front together as he walks, and sometimes they hang stiffly at his sides! But anyway, here's a little video showing how he's been getting more and more steady on his feet these past few weeks :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Yesterday, Avery and Brogan both started swimming lessons! It was Brogan's very first time, now that he's 3 and old enough for classes. I thought it would be good for him because he still hates getting his face wet, and a little more confidence in the water will definitely be a good thing! It is Avery's first time since her SPML surgery, so I was interested to see how her movements in the water might be different. And of course, I was really looking forward to her benefiting from the therapeutic effects of the water again! So they will both be having lessons every Monday and Wednesday this month, with Mr Keith, who is wonderful :) And, an unexpected joy, there was only one other child signed up for classes in that time slot, so they combined the class, which means that Avery and Brogan get to swim together! On top of that, there was nobody else in the whole pool!! It was really nice!

Thursday, October 06, 2011


I have to confess that my blog has been a victim of my severe "burned out" status of late. I realise that it is terrible timing, because I know a lot of people having been watching for news of Avery and her post-op progress, but I have been exhausted!!! Every time I have sat down to update the blog, I have been too drained to actually do it. Even tonight, there are two videos I want to add to this post, but I know I won't muster up the will power to get up off the couch to turn on the computer and upload the videos. So you'll just have to come back for those in a few days ;)
Here's the good news though - Avery is doing well! And here are a whole bunch of pictures and (later) videos to prove it!! (Except these first two...)
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There was a moment or two during Avery's early recovery when she felt rather discouraged. It didn't last long. Before Avery had her surgery, we spent a lot of time preparing her for what was going to happen the day of the surgery, and why she was going to have it done. I also had to spend some time trying to quell her excitement, because she pretty much thought she was going to wake up and walk out of the recovery room. Apparently, I didn't do a good enough job of that. I think I already mentioned Avery's eagerness to try out her legs pretty much as soon as her general anesthesia wore off. I had run out to get her pain medication prescriptions filled, and she told Aunt Colleen that she wanted to try to walk. So Colleen helped her stand up, and she took one step, and of course, it hurt. She tried a few more times in the next day or two, and every time she did, she was in pain. So then she was afraid to try for quite a while. And then, after we got home, we were back in her safest, most comfortable environment, but it wasn't comfortable. She was still hurting, and on top of that, she was not only not walking, she was actually less independent than she was. Temporarily, of course, but I don't think she was prepared for that.

There! Now that we have the unhappy part out of the way, we can move onto happier times :)

When we were still in Texas, in one of Gabe's phone conversations with Avery he asked if she would like to have a "Welcome Home Party"! She loved the idea, but repeatedly insisted that it was just to be a family party, no friends! And the cake had to be a chocolate cake with strawberry frosting and vanilla sprinkles!! And we had to play musical chairs!! So on day 8 post-spml, we had a welcome home party :) Daddy went out and bought decorations and flowers :)
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My pretty girl :)

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"Present time!!" Avery announced, so I rushed downstairs and wrapped up Oliver's birthday present (a block table)... I hope he won't resent us for the rest of our lives!! And then it was cake time! 

Day 11 saw us back in northern Virginia for Avery's first week of intensive therapy. By that point, she was mostly pain-free. The only time it really seemed to hurt anymore was when I carried her sitting on my hip. She was still nervous about putting weight on her legs, but she was ready to get to work.
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Look at the way she's standing at the sink! Look at her legs! Look at her posture! Isn't it beautiful? :) And look at how my sweet boy tucked the baby doll into bed before he went to sleep :)

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And here are my two sick boys. Round one. They both got sick with colds during the first week away, and then again the second week. And then they were both perfectly healthy whenever we were home, in their own bedrooms, with Gabe around!! But really, that, and the fact that I had to miss half of her ABM sessions to keep the boys from being a distraction, were the only things that made the weeks away slightly difficult. My children are all super stars.
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Avery strapping her braces on before bed, and working in therapy with Catherine during her second intensive week.
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On September 26th it was time for Avery to get her casts cut off!! She was very excited, and was prepared for the noise :)

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To celebrate, we went and got Bubblecake :) And then we went home, and Avery played in the bath for about an hour and a half!! She went to bed a very happy girl.

Early tomorrow morning, we are all leaving for 3 days of therapy. Gabe gets to come with us this time too :) 

I also want to take a moment to say thank you. I have been amazed by the generosity of so many people. I don't even know how to express my gratitude. Family, close friends, and friends I have never met in person....  Thank you. You are making it possible for Avery to do all of this.

I promise to upload the videos when we get home :)