Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Festivities

What?! Did you think we did nothing but work on home renovations the entire holiday? Trip announced that he was not going to do any work on turkey day. That seemed reasonable to me, partly because the bamboo planks needed to acclimate to the humidity in our house for a couple days before being installed and especially because Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is all about food and family and gratitude and it doesn't involve very much stress on my part (since I haven't ever hosted Thanksgiving). Growing up, we always had Thanksgiving at my Nana and Grandpa's house in Johnson City, Tennessee. All my cousins and aunts and uncles from my dad's side would be there. We kids would sprawl out all over the floor in the downstairs living room (the grownups got the bedrooms) and watch movies and catch up on what had been going on in each others' lives since the previous summer. We watched the Macy's parade together and played with Nana's scottie dog, Charlie outside. I have so many wonderful memories of Thanksgiving with my family.

When my grandfather died, I wondered what Thanksgiving would be like without him there to carve the turkey. He always seemed quite stern to me (he was a retired army colonel), but I also remember an amused twinkle in his eye as he listened to all of us talking at the table. Thanksgiving is different now--we have dinner in Arden at my parents' house, more people participate in the cooking, and our extended family has grown by leaps and bounds. But the key elements are the same--family, food, friendship, love and laughter. Plus, we have added yard games to the mix, which is brilliant! I think of Grandpa every year when we sit around the table for the Thanksgiving meal. I know he is pleased that we still get together as a big extended family--that was important to him. He and my grandmother are the reason that I am so close to my aunts and uncles and cousins and I am grateful for that gift.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Almost finished!

I think Harding and Shelby are happy to no longer be "rug rats". Trip and his dad and brother have worked really hard for the past two days to get this beautiful bamboo flooring in. I can hardly believe that this is my house...I absolutely love it! Once we put the quarter round on, this home makeover project will thankfully be done. Now to go rug shopping....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Trip and I have been racking our brains trying to figure out what Shelby might like for Christmas. She's a tough one. Her favorite activity lately is army crawling to the bookshelf and pulling books down to chew on. She is really starting to explore her surroundings these days. Last week she crawled all the way into the kitchen for the first time. She found the top to a to-go coffee cup on the floor and started throwing it and absolutely cracking up at the sound it made when it fell on the floor. The video is pretty cute. Maybe she'll get a stocking full of coffee cup tops this year....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

House Anniversary and Projects

We have been homeowners for 6 years this week! As an anniversary gift to our house, we've got some big projects underway. Trip and I (with the help of my dad) spent the weekend painting our living room. It has been bright yellow and it was time for something more neutral, especially since we plan to sell our house in a couple years.

I will miss the cheerful yellow though. Here is Trip cutting in with the new color, "milestone". Painting this tall room is quite an undertaking! Harding wanted to "help".
We've been thinking of putting in bamboo floors for a long time. We finally have saved enough money and they went on sale last week so we ordered them. They should come in Wednesday and we're going to install them in the living room and dining room next weekend (gulp)! Thank goodness Trip's parents have done this before and are going to help us.

My sister, Chris is in town for Thanksgiving. She came over with Riley today to watch the kids and give Trip and I moral support as we finished painting. I love these two baby girls!

Things are certainly busy around here, but our house deserves some love after 6 years and the final product is going to be really nice....happy anniversary house!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ophthalmologist and Orthopedist Updates

We have a wave of check-ups with all of Shelby's specialists every six months. It is that time again, so last week we went to the Orthopedist in Charlotte and yesterday we went to the Ophthalmologist here in Asheville. Shelby will have an MRI at the beginning of December which we will mail to her neurosurgeon so that he can check on her brain growth and shunt. Thankfully, if there are no problems we won't have to travel to Duke for that. Then Shelby will have an EEG and go to the neurologist after Christmas.

At Shelby's ortho check-up, Dr. Casey noticed that Shelby's left leg is shorter than her right leg. Apparently it is pretty common in cerebral palsy patients for the weaker leg to be a tad shorter, so that was not surprising. Plus, several family members on Trip's side have one leg that is shorter, so there are probably genetic factors playing into this as well. She may wear lifts to correct this in the future. Shelby's hip x-rays looked great. Her hip socket is deepening nicely. Shelby will keep wearing the hip abduction brace at night for another six months to make sure that her hip dysplasia continues to improve. We also talked about using AFO's (ankle foot orthotics) in the future on Shelby's left foot when she begins to pull up to standing because there is a good deal of muscle tightness on that side. Basically, Dr. Casey and our PT, Beth are monitoring Shelby closely. When she starts crawling and walking, we want her to do it as symmetrically as possible.

Shelby's ophthalmology appointment went well. Dr. Bachinsky was pleased with the huge CVI (cortical visual impairment) improvements she has made. Shelby is still far sighted, but within the normal range for her age, so no glasses at this point. When they dilated her eyes, Shelby's optic nerve showed no further damage than it did six months ago and that is not expected to change. I asked what the optic nerve damage meant for Shelby's vision. Dr. Bachinsky said that Shelby will probably need assistive devices in school to help her read. She also encouraged us to look into pre-braille instruction in a couple years. Learning braille will give Shelby another reading option on days that her eyes are tired. It is frustrating to not know how much your child sees, and we won't really know until she can tell us. But it is so exciting that she sees and that her vision is improving!

I feel so much better going into this wave of appointments then I did a year ago and am incredibly thankful for that. Shelby is doing great, which tells me that her brain is still "happy" as her neurosurgeon, Dr. Grant told us a year ago. It'll be nice to see it on the MRI too though. More doctor updates coming in the next month....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekends make me happy!

I really appreciate and revel in the weekend now that I am a working mom. I love to wake up without an alarm clock. I love to keep my pajamas on all morning and drink coffee and eat breakfast at a leisurely pace. Most of all, I love being with my family for extended periods of time.

This weekend was especially full of fun. Friday night, we went to a puppet show in West Asheville. Harding has been begging us to take him to a puppet show, so this free one near our house was perfect. All of the puppets were handmade by the puppeteer.The "scary" puppets were Harding's favorites. He was enthralled by this one's tongue which touched the ground when it came out.

Conveniently, the puppet show happened to have been at an ice cream shop. Yay for me!

Of course Harding chose chocolate ice cream.

We got to have a lovely lunch with Nana on Saturday. Here she is telling Shelby a story.
The kids model their latest set of matching pajamas. Harding was so excited to be a snowman. He kept saying, "If you touch me, you will become frozen".
This picture is actually from last weekend, but the meal Trip made was particularly amazing and worthy of being photographed. Trip loves ethnic foods. He mastered Mexican cooking a long time ago, but is now on a huge Asian kick. The balti lamb pictured below was to die for. We also had boc choy, papaya, and naan on the side.
My only complaint about the weekend is it goes too quickly! Now back to my lesson planning for next week.

As promised....

More Halloween pictures.
Trip's lovely jack-o-lantern:

Harding as a scary spider:

The four of us at trunk-or-treat:

Shelby kept cracking up at the sound of the crunching leaves:

Harding and Shelby's jack-o-lanterns: