Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday at the Park

Saturday afternoon we decided to get out of the house and go to a park not too far from our house.  The sun was shinning and the temp was in the 80's.  A beautiful day here in Houston!  Rachel and Haley love to be outside so this trip to the park was perfect.  They had a great time.

Rachel and Haley love to swing so that's where we spent most of our time:

Rachel and Haley



Haley and Rachel


Kayla was not too interested in the park.  She slept:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An update on Rachel and Haley

Not much has been going on the past couple of weeks.  It has been almost 2 months since I've posted an update on Rachel and Haley's progress so here it is.  Rachel and Haley are active little girls!  They continue to get their therapies everyday.  They are making progress though at times it's slow.  It still amazes me the progress they have made despite their very early arrival and all the odds that were against them.  We have been doubly blessed to have Rachel and Haley here with us.

Haley and Rachel

 Rachel:  Occupational therapy continues to work with Rachel on getting her to eat.  She has made only small progress with it.  It will be a long, long road to get her eating normally.  She will swallow small amounts of water and sometimes, if we are lucky, small amounts of yogurt.  She continues to put foods like pretzels, crackers, cheerios, etc in her mouth, but will only chew them and spit them out.  She just doesn't seem to know how or is afraid to swallow.  Only continued practice and therapy will eventually get her eating.  If anyone has any advice or has had some experience with what Rachel is dealing with please comment.  I would like to know if anyone else out there has had any luck with getting a child to eat that has severe oral aversion like Rachel.

Last week Rachel had a 6 month follow up appointment to evaluate the continued use of her SMO's (supra-malleolar orthosis).  These are the foot/ankle braces she wears to help with her walking.  She will have to continue to wear them for at least another 6 months since she does have some right sided weakness.  Her right sided weakness is not too terrible, but the SMO's will help strengthen that right side when she walks.

Rachel is doing better with age appropriate play.  Rachel likes to hug her baby doll.  She sees me holding Kayla and is "acting" out what she sees.  She likes to roll a ball back and forth with us.  She is learning to do puzzles and loves to look at books!  She also really likes to watch cartoons on the iPad.  Rachel is a very curious girl and looks at everything in detail.

Since Rachel has severe hearing loss she is learning sign language.  She is picking up on more basic signs.  She knows how to sign book, ball and more.  Yes Rachel is still wearing hearing aids, but its a struggle to get her to wear them.  She pulls them out all the time.  Its also somewhat of a struggle to get her to wear her glasses.  Overall, Rachel is doing good.


 Haley:  Haley recovered well from her tonsillectomy back in February.  We are so glad those HUGE tonsils are out.  She is able to swallow easier.  Haley is doing ok with her eating.  She still prefers smooth baby foods vs. textured foods.  The occupational therapist is working with getting her to chew more textured foods.  Haley is still a tiny, petite girl, but I can tell she has grown.  Haley will be seeing the endocrinologist in June to evaluate again the need for growth hormone or not.

Like Rachel, Haley was wearing SMO's.  Well Haley no longer needs them!  Haley is walking great.

Haley had an appointment with the retinal specialist earlier this month and the doctor saw no changes in her right eye.  The doctor could still see some retina.  He told me that her right eye is in no way normal, but she does have some retina that is allowing her a little bit of vision.  Haley is doing so well with such limited vision.  We assume what she can see at this point, but she loves to look at lights and we can tell she sees people and objects.  She gets around well.  She doesn't run into things as much as she used to.  She is learning to use the small amount of vision that she has.  It's also a struggle to get Haley to wear her glasses.  We still don't know for sure if the glasses help her little bit of vision or not.  We continue to try to get her to wear them just in case. 

Haley has been making more vocal sounds lately.  She says "ma, ma" and "ba, ba".  Haley has moderate hearing loss.  She has been wearing her hearing aids fairly well.  When Haley had her tonsillectomy the doctor attempted again to get tubes in her ears, but her ear canals are still so tiny.  Once tubes are able to be placed, I know Haley will be able to hear more.  Overall, Haley is also doing well. 


Below are pictures of Rachel and Haley enjoying the nice Spring weather here in Houston, Texas.  I love this time of year!

Haley and Rachel



Monday, March 12, 2012

The joy of photographing kids

As I have mentioned before I enjoy photography and taking pictures of my girls.  As anyone with little kids knows, its hard to get pictures of them where they are looking at the camera or staying still long enough.  Rachel and Haley are active and don't stay still long enough for me to get pictures where they are both looking at the camera.  I usually have to take several pictures to finally get one where the both of them are looking at the camera.  I eventually get one and the picture is just priceless!  Here is an example of a photo shoot I recently did with the girls.  I included the "bloopers" before I got the priceless one.

Haley trying to roll away
Rachel trying to sit up
Rachel reaching for the camera
Rachel screaming.  Haley covering her eyes
Neither Rachel or Haley looking at the camera
This is a good picture, but my hair got in the way of the flash so Haley has a shadow on her face
Priceless!  (even though Rachel has her finger in her mouth)  Love it!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Kayla is 3 months old!

Another month has gone by.  Kayla is already 3 months old!  It makes me sad that my newborn baby girl is no longer a newborn.  She is growing up on me so fast!  I weighed Kayla today and she is 10 lbs, 10 oz (10-25% ile).  I have not measured her length since its hard to be as accurate as her pediatrician's office, but at 2 months she was at the 5% ile for length.  She is a petite little girl.  At birth, she started off at a bigger weight than I expected, but it looks like she is going to be petite like her big sister Haley.  That's ok.  She's growing at her own pace and she is healthy.  Kayla is developing and hitting milestones well.  She smiles when she sees me, she smiles at anyone who talks to her and generally is a happy baby when she is not tired or hungry.  When she is tired or hungry, watch out!  She has a set of lungs!  Kayla has discovered her hands.  She brings her hands together and likes to put her fingers in her mouth.  She almost holds her head steady 100%.  She tracks moving objects and just loves to look around in general.  She doesn't want to be held in a cradle/lying position.  She would rather be held up so she can see all around her.  Kayla is so attentive and aware.  She is definitely a cutie and I just love and enjoy her so much!  She is such a joy and blessing to our family.  She will be a wonderful little sister to her big sisters Rachel and Haley.


The picture below is Kayla playing with her hands.  


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Kayla's Blessing

Kayla in her blessing dress

Kayla was blessed at our church on March 4 by her daddy.  Her blessing was very special and brought tears to my eyes as I listened to the special blessing her daddy gave her.  Kayla is a miracle and I believe she was sent to us for many reasons.  She is perfect for our family.  She has brought so much joy to our home.  I know she will be a big help to her sisters Rachel and Haley.  She is definitely a precious daughter of our Heavenly Father and I'm so blessed to be entrusted by the Lord to care for her and to love her.  I love her more than I can express in words. 

The blessing dress Kayla wore is so special.  It's the same dress that Rachel and Haley wore almost 2 years ago when they were blessed.  You can read that post here.   I'm so glad Kayla was able to wear this dress.  She looked so beautiful in it as did her sisters Rachel and Haley.    

As written by her Daddy (Thomas):
Today was a very special day for our family. I had the privilege of blessing our beautiful little Kayla. I was overcome by emotion today as I spoke from my heart and what the Spirit prompted me to say.  I know that our little Kayla is a blessing to our family. She has brought much joy into our home. We hope that she will grow close to her big sisters. I strongly feel Kayla will be by their side through out life. She will help them with the challenges they will face in this mortal life. We love and cherish Kayla as we do Rachel and Haley. We as a family have been truly blessed by a kind and loving Heavenly Father. We are grateful to be entrusted with these special little spirits in our home. 

It was a beautiful day in Houston.  The sun was shinning and the temperatures were perfect.  I could not have asked for a better day.  Here are some of the pictures taken after her blessing.  

Family that attended her blessing
Grandpa/Grandma Stansel, us with the girls and Grandma/Grandpa Benedict
Me, Kayla and my mom (3 generations)
Kayla and I
Family picture