September 29, 2012

Eighteen months old in pictures

Reading with Daddy

Soaking leg and watching her favorite "Sea Tunes" DVD
(basically a bunch of clips of sea animals set to cute songs)

Walking her baby

September 25, 2012


Ben and I took a trip to Boston to visit my sister the weekend before he started work. We were blessed to have this opportunity thanks to my parents who helped fly us out there as a graduation gift. My older sister has lived in Boston for eight years now, and while I see her several times a year I have never been out to her neck of the woods. I knew it would be next to impossible once the new baby arrived, so this was our golden opportunity, and I'm so glad we could take advantage of it.
This was our longest time leaving Anna. My parent stayed with her for four days. I felt completely at peace knowing they were with her. I don't feel comfortable leaving Anna with someone overnight or for meals unless I am completely confident in their ability to protect her health. I have to know that they can check and read food labels thoroughly, keep her from cross contamination like dropped food or buttery fingers, and be vigilant so nothing slips through the cracks. Even with my own cautiousness Anna still breaks out in hives and eczema on a regular basis, so it's crucial that the person keeping her understands how careful they have to be. The nice thing about my Mom is that she's super on top of things and very attentive. I didn't even have to plan out each meal for Anna- I gave my mom some suggestions and tips and she took care of it. That's half the headache and the reason we dont usually leave-  it's often more trouble than its worth to plan and cook every meal ahead. So having my mom take care of things was a-mazing. I knew she wouldn't mistakenly buy or give Anna something she couldn't have. I didn't worry about her at all while we were gone!
We had the most relaxing week. My sister works in Boston but lives outside of the city in a renovated farmhouse on a huge land lot. It was a beautiful place. You felt like you were on a retreat get-away. Ben and I agreed it was the first time we've felt completely relaxed in a very long time. It was amazing!
I'm not a big picture taker. I always prefer to enjoy moments rather than capture them, but I do sometimes wish I had a personal photographer who could do it for me! This is one of the only pictures taken over the weekend.


If you look carefully you can see my cup of sprinkles to the left. I am what you would call an ice cream snob. I worked at a local ice cream shop from eighth grade through twelfth grade, and I definitely am set in my ice cream ways!

September 18, 2012

Give me strength

I've found myself repeating that a lot lately. To my inner soul.
Give me strength.
Despite the good news of late, there has been a rise in the waters around me.
New issues with Anna's leg.
No walking for now. No leg for now.
Heartbroken for my little girl who doesn't understand.
Long trips to Shriners on the horizon.
Mumblings of another surgery.
New baby still coming quickly. Not slowing down.
New job starting.
Trips to Atlanta for doctors appointments.
I can't do it. I can't do it. I'm going to break.
Give me strength.
I want to ask the questions: Why? Why can't Anna get a break? Why can't we get a break? I want to cry. I do cry. I want to give up.
But I can do it. It's worth it.
Give me strength, God. Help me. Breathe.
25 weeks. Baby is growing.
 A few things that made laugh today. And I really needed a laugh:
I'm Not Into Vintage from Love, Matt and Kara. While I do go to thrift stores and am not a brand namer, I could relate to just about everything else she said. I totally appreciate vintage-ness in others, but I've tried to make it work for me and it just doesn't. In terms of home and personal style, I've decided that 'Classic' fits me best.
Posted from Erica's blog, which chronicles her experience with infertility (anyone going through a debilitating illness, disability, etc might get a chuckle out of this):
Happy Tuesday everyone!

September 4, 2012

Prosthetic fashion

This title was not chosen because I think I have a particularly wonderful fashion sense, but rather because it has to do with shoes.

Footwear has been one of the added complications of having a prosthesis. It wasn't really an issue before Anna started walking because she went barefoot or wore socks. Now that she has started toddling around, I need to keep her feet protected when out and about.

The difficulties:

1. Her two feet are different sizes. Her prosthetic foot is almost an inch shorter than her right foot and much wider. Shoes that fit one foot are too big for the other, and vice versa.

2. The width of the prosthetic foot makes it hard to find a shoe that will fit over it. Shoes with straps are particularly difficult because they will not reach across her ankle.

3. Heaviness. A prosthesis adds 20% more weight than a normal leg which can more easily tire out a toddler. Shoes have to be lightweight.

Up until now I only had one pair of shoes that worked.... or sort of worked. These pink shoes were really cute, but I had to get two different sizes- a size 2 for her prosthesis and a size 3 for her right foot. The strap would not make it over her prosthetic foot so I ended up cutting it off:

Recently I really hit the jackpot and found a great pair of leather shoes at Target. They actually fit over her prosthetic foot and go all the way up to the ankle! Because they are leather they are very lightweight. They also fit her just right so that there isn't too much extra length on the prosthetic leg side. There will always be some extra length since the foot is shorter than the other, but it doesn't interfere with her ability to walk as much as other shoes. Plus they are darn cute!

I think they look great!

Initially I was aiming for two pairs of good, functional shoes.... but one of those needed to be sneakers. I couldn't find a pair that were lightweight. They all had heavy rubber soles which I didn't think Anna needed at this point. I also didn't want to buy two pairs of sneakers since they are expensive and I knew she would grow out of them soon. I found this pair of white leather-like sneakers that were in like-new condition at a consignment sale. I took them home for $2 hoping they would fit her feet. I barely got it over her prosthetic foot, but it worked!

Ok they may not be the most fashionable things ever, but I'm so glad I found some sneakers that work!

Hopefully as she gets older and has more options for her foot, it will get easier. Until then, we will be in the market for shoes that work and possibly buying shoes in two sizes.

Update: a friend and physical therapist pointed me to a few sites where you can find shoes that are different sizes:

Amputee Coaltio's mismatched and single shoe finder sheet:

September 1, 2012

One great month

This has been, without a doubt, the best month in the last three years. Not only did Ben finish school and secure a great job, he also passed his boards AND we put an offer on a cute little home that was accepted yesterday. It's hard to believe all this happened in just a couple of weeks.

Originally Ben was only considering positions in primary care, specifically ones that provided loan repayment as we had to completely provide for the last two-and-a-half years of tuition and expenses while caring for Anna. Obviously not an easy thing to do with a family. We hate owing money to anyone and knew it would be difficult to pay that money back in a timely fashion. However, Ben interviewed for a great job in nephrology and we felt like it was the right one to take. He turned down three other job offers, all of which would have provided loan repayment. Despite the difficulty of the decision, we feel the job in nephrology will be a wiser investment of our time and will be better for our family in the long run. We are anxious about having a student loan, and know it will require a lot of hard work and continued simple living to pay it off, but we went for it. Neither one of us expected to stay here! We had it in our minds that we would be leaving this city, perhaps even leaving the state, yet here we are, ready to stay for years to come. I am excited for what the future holds.

Another exciting piece of news is that I landed a part-time position working for one of my favorite child development websites. I get to consult with parents and provide services all from home with good pay. I never thought I could find a real, stay-at-home job that didn't involve selling something or starting my own business, none of which appealed to me. But here God dropped a wonderful job opportunity in my lap, gave me favor over hundreds of other applicants, helped me get through many nerve-wrecking interviews, and provided something that hopefully I can continue for years to come. I am very excited, very nervous about how I will juggle up to 20 hours of work plus caring for a toddler and a newborn, and exceedingly thankful for an opportunity to use my professional skills.

Oh, and to emphasize the fact that it's been a great month, check out what Anna did this week!!!!!!

So proud of my baby!