Monday, December 15, 2014

Fairy Princess Patching

This little fairy princess had her follow-up at the ophthalmologist a couple weeks ago.  We will now be patching her right eye (her good eye) to get her left eye to work better.  She is supposed to wear her patch for 2-4 hours per day for at least the next 3 months.  Of course, Vivienne has been a total trooper about it and often wears her patch all day long because she likes it.  Let's just say she does not have issues with compliance.

Cutest little fairy pirate I ever did see, if I do say so myself.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Boone Trip - Happy 8th Anniversary!

We just got back from a weekend getaway to Boone, NC to celebrate our 8th anniversary (which was on December 10th).  It was an awesome few days together without the kids (who were gleefully spending the weekend at their grandparents' house).

On our first evening there, we had dinner at the Hob Knob Farm Cafe.  It's a farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Boone.  After our meal we stopped for some groceries and wine and headed to our cabin in the mountains.  After a long stretch of winding, steep roads, we arrived at our weekend home.  It was a perfect little cabin with a gas fireplace and rustic decor.

It was so nice to be able to sleep in, even though the latest I slept was 8:30.  I guess my body just can't sleep that late anymore.  We got up on Saturday, made a big pot of coffee, ate breakfast and lounged around for a while.  Then we headed down the Blue Ridge Parkway to Grandfather Mountain.

The drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway was gorgeous.  Even in December, the drive has many incredibly beautiful views.  The landscapes there are like something out of a fairy tale.  There are tons of horses and cows and Christmas tree farms.

We arrived at Grandfather Mountain only to discover that all of the hiking trails were closed due to "snow and ice."  The frustrating thing about this was that there wasn't much snow or ice.  I guess they were being very, very cautious.  Oh, well.

We just went a few miles down the road to the Tanawha trail.  We hiked for 5.5 miles round trip to the Linn Cove Viaduct.  The entire Tanawha trail is 13.5 miles long.  It was a strenuous and technical hike,  with many large rock staircases and large obstacles.  It was exactly the kind of hike we love most and the views were incredible.

We could not have asked for better weather.  Bright, blue cloudless sky, warm sun, hiking without coats in December in the mountains.  We did hit some very light patches of snow, but certainly nothing worth closing a trail over.  (Ahem.)

Jason had a hard time with his hiking boots and was very, very glad when were back at the car.

Saturday night, we had a great dinner at Vidalia in Boone.  Then we headed back to our cabin again to "sleep in" until 8 am.  Another big breakfast, and we said goodbye to the cabin.  Before heading back to Cary, we wanted to sneak in one more hike.  We decided to try Elk Knob State Park.

It was clear as we were parking the car that there would be a lot more snow on this hike.  We started out with our coats on, but quickly tied the around our waists.  This was a phenomenal hike.  It was 1.9 miles to the summit (just under 4 miles round trip).  We were hiking on a well established path through quiet, snowy woods.  It was a moderate hike, much easier than Tanawha, but the views were spectacular.  I would recommend this hike to anyone going to Boone.

On the way back down the mountain, we stopped to write each of the kids' names in the snow.  They were delighted when we showed them these photos back home.

We've been married 8 years now.  We moved 2000 miles.  We bought a house.  Jason has completed 4 Ironmans (with ridiculously good times) and countless marathons, including Boston.  We had 3 beautiful kids (and two at one time even!).  This is only the beginning.  Love you, Jason.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Occupational Therapy

A couple months ago, Miles' preschool teacher mentioned to me that he had difficulty with holding his pencil.  Even when he did grip his pencil correctly, he had difficulty applying enough pressure to get the pencil to write.  She suggested we consider occupational therapy.

My first step was to take him to Project Enlightenment.  A child psychologist did a full evaluation of him there, everything from vision to hearing to fine motor skills to social development to problem solving.  The results of that were that he was doing fine in all areas.

After that, I took him to a private physical therapy office (that also does occupational therapy) for an evaluation.  They determined that he does have a minor delay in fine motor skills, and that his delay is related to a deficiency in upper body and core strength.  I was surprised to hear this, considering how much time we spend outside running and jumping and playing on playgrounds.  This also spurred my memory of his pediatrician saying that he had "low tone" when he was about 6 months old.  His therapist, Abby, said that this is probably related to that.

Now, once a week, we take him to therapy.  He absolutely loves it.  He gets to roll down the hall on their scooter board, play games and make crafts with Abby.  She is a gem, and she says that he has already made lots of progress.

We need to spend more time doing wheelbarrows and crab walks and practicing with our pencils, but he has already made strides.  Abby said that he probably would only need about 6-8 weeks of therapy, which would have us ending some time in January.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Friendship Feast

The kids' preschool does a Friendship Feast for the 4-year-olds.  Two classes get together near lunchtime, one class dressed as Native Americans and the other class dressed as pilgrims.  They share a meal together.  And it is STINKIN' ADORABLE.  I seriously almost cried when Miles' class came in because they were so cute.  Miles' feast was last Friday, and he dressed as a Native American.  Vivienne's feast was today and she dressed as a pilgrim.  Jason took time off of work to come watch both kids' feasts.  I'm thankful that he has flexibility at work to attend events like these.

Vivienne's normal glasses are broken, so she is wearing her backups for now (which she does not like because they are slightly too big).  She kept leaning her head forward to be sure her pilgrim hat didn't fall off, and that caused her to be looking over her glasses.  I think she looked more like the Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe than a pilgrim.  She was adorable nonetheless.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014

The kids had been eagerly awaiting Halloween for about the last 12 months.  About once a month, they would ask me when we would wear costumes and go trick-or-treating again.  (I'm pretty sure I can thank the random Halloween episodes of Dora for that.)  Last night, their dream finally came true.  Miles decided he wanted to resurrect the space shuttle costume from last year (which made Mommy very happy).  Vivienne had her heart set on being a "butterfly with orange and black wings".   And Evelyn just had to settle for the free, hand-me-down adorable droopy ladybug costume.  I must say that our crew was quite the cute little posse.

I'm pretty sure we were the first trick-or-treaters in our subdivision.  The kids just could not wait another minute.  After Grandma arrived to join in the fun with her cute orange pumpkin t-shirt, we headed out in broad daylight with our pumpkins (and Evelyn carried her fuzzy monkey from Easter).  Our first stop was our next-door neighbors' house, and then we were off.  The kids lasted quite a while, but after a while, Evelyn decided she wanted to ride in the stroller.  Around 7:30, we came home with heavy pumpkins and tired legs.

After a couple pieces of candy, the kids quickly found their fake teeth and that's when things started to get a little hairy…

Already looking forward to Halloween 2015.  Surely the space shuttle will not fit by then and Miles will have to choose another costume.  Mars rover maybe?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Our Little Amblyope

A few months ago, we took Vivienne for her routine yearly check-up at the pediatrician.  During the visit, they do a simple vision test.  I was waiting in the exam room with Miles while Vivienne did it, so I wasn't able to watch.  The nurse came back with her and said that it seemed like she couldn't see very well with her left eye.  The pediatrician said that it could just be a lack of compliance, or it could be an actual vision problem.  With Vivienne, I was skeptical that it could be a lack of compliance (she follows directions very well).  He suggested that we take her to a pediatric ophthalmologist to get it checked out.

We made an appointment with the ophthalmologist, but we had to wait over a month to get in.  It was a special day for Vivienne and me.  I took her lots of snacks and we had some good time one-on-one while Miles and Evelyn were at Grandma's house.

When we got into the exam room, the woman giving her the eye test said that she thought it was probably just an issue with compliance.  Vivienne rocked the right-eye test.  Then when she patched her right eye and asked her to identify the objects with her left eye, it was abundantly clear that she could not see well.  She could barely read the first line.

After a series of these tests, including having her pupils dilated (Vivienne was such a trooper), we finally saw the actual ophthalmologist.  She said that Vivienne has amblyopia.  Her left eye is much weaker than her right eye.  She will be wearing glasses until probably at least middle school, and it's highly likely that her vision will be 20/20 when all is said and done.

I think a lot of people have been surprised to find out that she has amblyopia, because this is often known as a "lazy eye" where one eye turns in or out (strabismic amblyopia).  Vivienne's eyes are perfectly straight and always have been.  She has refractive amblyopia.  With time, her eyes and brain will learn to process images correctly with her left eye.

This week her glasses finally came in.  Unfortunately, she wasn't feeling very well the day we went to pick them up, so she wasn't as excited as I thought she would be.  But she sure looks adorable in them, and she has been a champ wearing them all day every day without a single complaint.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Last Beach Trip of 2014

In mid-September, we took our last beach trip of the year. Our time at the beach is cherished, and we look forward to this all year.

This trip had a new twist.  We had to take Miles and Vivienne out of preschool. Of course, that was really no big deal, but it was kind of surreal to have to tell their teachers that they would be missing a week (how can they be this big already?).

Grandma and Grandpa drove down from Indiana to join us on this trip.  It makes our beach time even more precious to spend it with grandparents.

We made our usual lunch stop on the way to the beach (Smithfield's barbecue), and then arrived around 4.  The kids couldn't wait to hit the sand and surf (though the surf here is typically very mild).

During our previous trip at the beginning of the summer, Evelyn wanted nothing to do with the water.  She would weep if even a drop of ocean water touched feet.  This trip was completely different.  From the very first night, she wanted to be in the water.  Her fears had completely dissolved.

The big kids were also more fearless than ever on this trip.  They wanted us to carry them out past the break so that they could float up and down with the waves.  I wish we had brought their puddle jumpers, because they would have loved to float on their own (with us beside them, of course).  They both also loved the boogie boards, but Miles was especially enamored with the idea of surfing.

Of course, there was also plenty of time spent digging, running, jumping and drawing in the sand.  All of the kids love the sand, and Jason and I don't mind getting dirty with them.  How could you say no?

And just for good measure, for every beautiful photo we get, there is usually a gem like this tucked away.

This year, we also celebrated Jason's birthday at the beach.  Lila got him a cake, and the kids enthusiastically helped with the candles and singing.  Happy birthday, Jason!

Every few days, the kids will ask, "How many days before we go back to the beach?"  Unfortunately that's a pretty high number right now.  Next year, we will probably have to go down to one beach trip, because they may be starting kindergarten on a traditional school calendar in 2015.  Once school starts, we will be limited to only going during high season, and I don't know if we'll be able to swing that more than once a summer.  Regardless, we will always find a way to go to our beach.