Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Look at You! Are you TWO?!

Hello friends and family! 

We continue to be amazed by our miracle baby, Elise. She is now a chatty, exploratory, and very easy-going TODDLER! That's right...don't adjust your screens...that last word was 'toddler.' Hard for me to even type, let alone BELIEVE!  


Catching Up on As the Olsens Turn....

We had a wonderful Christmas with Elise. Although she still did not completely get the "Santa" idea, she did love to see all her presents and spend time playing with each one. Elmo (or "Melmo" as she calls him) was the theme to Christmas 2013! 

 
Christmas Eve 2013
Shortly after Christmas, we celebrated her 2nd birthday...you guessed it....'Melmo' style! We decided to have a brunch party complete with yummy pastries from a local bakery, mini quiches, and a fruity Elmo face. Elise was extremely blessed by all her friends and family for making her birthday party a priority on a snowy Saturday morning. 

Blowing out her candle







Such a smiley birthday girl!
Another big excitement in our household has been the addition of a playroom upstairs. I had this vision of an indoor treehouse, but certainly no skills to complete it. We have a wonderful friend who is a carpenter and was able to turn my dream into a reality! Thanks, Eric! 

Elise's sweet babysitter, Sadie, offered her artistic talent for the flower wall. Elise calls the playroom her "weeeeee" room. Although she is still building courage for the big green slide, she loves the bird's nest (aka trampoline) and her favorite Christmas present from her godparents: her kitchen. 




How is Elise doing developmentally? 

Before we left the NICU, our neonatologist in Indianapolis told us that Elise would 'grow out of her prematurity' by two or three years old. So, what does any parent do? They look forward to the day when he/she can say "my child is all caught up!" 

Our pediatrician, here in Seymour, cringed when I told her what the neo said simply because it is not true for most babies born early. Elise is on her own time schedule and God made her Elise....not your average child. (I type that for myself to read more than anyone else!) 
On Elise's two year appointment (2.8.14) she weighed 22 lbs and was 33 inches tall. Although she continues to be our petite little lady, her height was impressive. 

(Ladies, later in life, won't Elise love to hear that she's petite in weight, but has average to tall height?? Lucky duck!)

Coming away from our two year check-up, one area of struggle is bottles vs. sippy cups. Elise is a huge fan of the bottle. Three bottles a day and some crunchy Cheerios makes her one happy toddler! Replace a bottle with a sippy cup, and you'll hear wails for "baaaaabaaaa!" From the pediatrician's advice, we cut out bottles and went to all sippy cups right after her check-up. Dr. K said it may take a few days, but she will eventually become so hungry, that she will drink from the sippy. We were 4-5 days into the "say no to baba campaign," and Elise came down with strep throat. In order for her to stay hydrated, we gave a few bottles during her sick days. Since then, we have been slowly weaning the bottles vs. cutting off cold turkey. We find slowly weaning is working better than the cold turkey approach. There is still much progress to be made in this developmental stage as she is not a huge fan of table food either. 

"Slow but steady, " says Elise.  

Another area of growth for Elise is walking. Although she was quick to roll over as a baby and fairly quick to begin crawling, walking is lagging behind. She has taken independent steps, but only with the idea of getting from point A to point B before she falls or drops to her knees. Due to this, our pediatrician enrolled us in physical therapy for the next several weeks in hopes Elise can strengthen her legs and get to steppin'! 

Once in PT with Miss Alyson, it was noticed right away that Elise's ankles seem on the weak side. Therefore, we had an orthotic specialist come fit Elise for AFOs for her shoes. Since she loves (and prefers) to crawl, it is helpful that the braces actually make crawling uncomfortable. Hopefully this uncomfortable feeling and some much needed practice with the braces will encourage her to start walking. 

Yesterday, when we picked up the braces to take home, Elise tugged on this mama's heart strings a wee bit. She gave me a look of, "why are you doing this to me?!" Her feet felt heavy and awkward to her all day. Cries and whimpers were heard throughout the afternoon and she even tried pulling them off a few times. Of course, there was a huge part of me that wanted to take off the braces for her and say, "That's right, you don't have to wear these silly things." However, we have a goal in place (and not to mention these plastic suckers cost $4,000!) 

During nap time yesterday, I took her braces off so she could sleep. You could see instant relief wash over her face. She was being a trooper this day, like so many days of her life. A big part of me wanted to give an audible sigh and feel sorry for her. However, I did my best to picture her as a kindergartener taking her "little" braces to show-and-tell and proudly describing, "When we were all younger, what came natural to so many of you, didn't for me. These helped me learn to walk." 

We can jump this hurdle, just like all the other hurdles in the past...

She reminds me of a little soccer player :)

"Marching" Forward....Elise's Elites! 

It is that time again! Raising money so ALL preemies can have a fighting chance like our Elise....

Last year was our first year to fundraise for March of Dimes; an organization that is obviously very near and dear to our hearts. We set, what we thought, was a lofty goal of $2,000. After fundraising for just a few short weeks, we had to raise our goal...and raise it....and raise it!  At the end of the walk, we had raised over $8,500! WHAT an honor and blessing to preemie babies who are fighting for their lives now, and those that fought the good fight, such as Elise. Thank YOU for being such an incredible supporter of this very worthy organization. 

As we prepare to rev up our Elise's Elites engines this spring, we again ask you to join us as we raise money for all preemies. Would you help us? 

Travel to {www.eliseselites.com} to see our team page Elise's Elites: giving our best for her best! On our web page, you will see simple instructions that will guide you on how to donate to March of Dimes on behalf of our team, order official team apparel, and/or sign up to walk with us on 5.17.14!

We hope you will join us as we march for all babies this spring!


**Our family asks that you keep our friends, the Mendez family, in your closest prayers. J gave birth to twin boys in January at 23 weeks. (to put it in perspective with Elise...the twins were born two weeks earlier than Elise and were boys, which there is proven research that girls tend to be stronger in the NICU than boys..) It was very touch and go in the beginning, but the boys were hanging on strong. Last week at two months old, one of the twins was diagnosed with NEC. The surgeons rushed him to surgery, but it was too late. There was nothing they could do besides let mama J hold him while he waited for the Heavenly gates to open. I will attend this little angel's funeral tomorrow. Please pray for the entire family; especially J & S who are living every parent's worst nightmare. Also pray for the understanding of his three older brothers at home and the one twin who is still fighting in the NICU. As someone who enjoys mentoring other preemie families, there comes a time like this when no words will do....only prayers. THIS is why we march for ALL babies: past, present, and future. 

You may follow their incredible journey here. Please send your love... as your love was the only reason my feet hit the floor during our darkest days with Elise. 

I leave you with a picture that made me stop and reflect. I pray to God the Mendez family has a similar picture in a couple of years. Keep fighting the good fight, Marcello!  


upper left: 2.14.12
bottom left: 2.14.13
center right: 2.14.14
"watch the bib grow"

Until next time,
GJE

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What a Difference a Year has Made!

 Wow! I think the hustle and bustle of parenthood can be seen by my lack of writing since last fall! There aren't many nap times that I have the energy to do much besides grab some lunch and veg for a minute, but today I wanted to provide an update to all of Elise's tride and true followers! 

Catching You Up

A big moment last fall was Elise's baptism. We were so honored to have all family join us as Elise officially became a child of God in our Presbyterian Church. This day was also very special because Grant became a member of our church! Elise's baptismal gown has been in my family for 40 years. My grandmother made it out of her own wedding gown. Many Davis cousins have worn this gown, including me and my two brothers. What a special treat to add to a very memorable day. 


Special thanks for the tedious work by Take the Cake. This is a replica of one of the stained glass windows in our church. Way cool! 
Another exciting fall trip was Elise's first road trip to Arkansas for Uncle Matt and Auntie B's wedding! She was fabulous in the car (9 hour trip one way) and fabulous coming home. She slept through the entire wedding, but she will see pictures and hear stories as she grows older! 
The beautiful newlyweds
8.31.12
What's New with Elise? 

Elise is doing absolutely amazing! She has had two "setbacks" with the stomach flu this winter, but nothing tooooo major. The first occurrence was a few months ago. I was feeding Elise her morning bottle while watching the Today Show (she looked fine and seemed like she was feeling well...we were about to head off to our workout class like normal). 

All of a sudden, I felt Elise go limp in my arms. Her color quickly became ashy while her eyes rolled into the back of her head. I told myself I could NOT panic, because what good would that do?? I called out her name several times and tried tapping her cheeks. Nothing was working. I also tried splashing some water in her face. No go. I started to grab my phone to dial 911, and Elise came to slightly acting like something was stuck in her throat. She vomited a little and seemed to perk up again. I called my husband, Grant, instead of having a fire truck, police cars, and an ambulance show up at the house! 

Grant immediately knew what had happened...she was choking on her vomit and aspirating. She would aspirate (take fluid into her lungs...lower her heart rate....and breath shallowly) in the NICU many times. However, that "handy-dandy" monitor would tell you exactly what was happening. This was an instance (9 months after the NICU) when I really could have used one of those monitors ....and one of our NICU nurses or doctors right around the corner! 

God always works in mysterious ways...just when you desperately need Him. I started to realize Elise needed to vomit more, but couldn't. Around this same time, our cleaning ladies came through the front door. Ahhh, another mom to help me! Grant was quickly driving home from work to come get us. Our cleaning lady helped me clean myself and Elise while keeping a very watchful eye on our little girl. 

We decided to take Elise into the hospital to get checked out by her pediatrician and make sure this scary episode was just a one time event. Poor Elise vomited the whole 5 minute drive to the hospital and continued to become dehydrated in amidst being admitted to the pediatric floor. She got a round of IV fluids while we stayed overnight to have her monitored. She was her usual bouncy self the next morning. 

Round one of the stomach bug was history. 

Round two was just last week. We decided to take our first beach vacation as a family of three. We eagerly packed up the car one early Saturday morning and took two days to make the 16 hour drive to St. Petersburg, Florida. Florida was experiencing a cold front when we got there (high of 62), but the locals promised us brighter days ahead. We had our own little house on the bay with a private swimming pool and hot tub. We were set, right??? 

Our ONE good day in Florida...we made the best of it. Elise seemed to enjoy the hot tub!

Grant became ill the first night in Florida. He battled through a GI bug for four days. On the 5th day, I woke up with the same symptoms he had just gotten over. (Keep in mind the weather was still super chilly at this point...our pool water was a delicious 58 degrees!) Grant became worried that Elise would be next, so we packed up the car and decided to end our "vacation" two days early. We were three hours from home and Elise started vomiting. A few days later, we thought we might need another round of IV fluids to kick the bug goodbye, but thank goodness Elise was able to keep down small amounts of formula and we did not need a hospital visit. Hopefully round two (and we pray the LAST round) of the stomach bug is ending very, very soon! 

Where is Elise developmentally? 

We celebrated her very first birthday on February 8, 2013. (I know, it doesn't seem real!) She weighs 16 pounds and 1 ounce. She is 27.25 inches tall. 

{Scroll down for birthday party pictures}

As I write this, Elise is 13 months old chronologically. Her adjusted age is approximately 10 months old. She has a list of sounds that she likes to express (i.e. da, ga, bree, wray, wee, ah, ma). I think my all-time favorite sound/word of Elise's is 'nana.' I'm going to believe that she has heard us speak so much of her Nana Lisa, and that is why she has developed this very cute nasally sound :) She also squeals and laughs, especially when she is in her exersaucer. As for medicines, Elise continues to take Prilosec for reflux issues twice daily. Add a daily vitamin to the mix and that is IT...blessed beyond belief. 

Last month, the eye doctor graduated Elise from routine follows up to yearly visits. This was GREAT news! We were so relieved to know that her eyes were doing very well considering the odds they were up against as a 25 week preemie. Elise's eye doctor told us most preemies by one year of age are wearing patches to strengthen their eyes or are already wearing prescription glasses. Praise God for those gorgeous brown eyes being so healthy. 

Lately, our biggest challenge area with Elise has been food. About two months ago, she started showing a lack of interest in her formula bottles (we've always thickened these bottles with rice ever since she showed signs of aspirating in the NICU). We thought her lack of interest was a sign she was ready for baby food. Hooray, right? 

For 2 straight months, Elise would ONLY take sweet potatoes (and a "good" table session would be 4-5 small bites once a day). I tried every other kind of jar food with her (even the meats!) and she always gave a "tequila face" for everything (a tequila face? The face that is made after taking the first shot of tequila in college...come on, you remember!) 

Just recently however, Elise has expressed interest in what WE are eating. She now has added guacamole, mashed potatoes, yogurt, and pudding to her list of preferred foods. Within the last month she has also had her two bottom teeth pop out! Now with some 'munchers,' she is showing more signs of gumming foods such as Gerber puffs. Elise's pediatrician really wants her to gain weight so she has told us to give Elise anything that is high in fat. I kid you not, I recently fed her nacho cheese sauce from Steak n' Shake and she LOVED it. Who says a few stares from other Steak n' Shake customers bothered me? ha! 

What is ahead for us?


This past summer, we were honored to be asked by the Indianapolis headquarters of March of Dimes to be an Ambassador Family for the southern Indiana region. Part of this fun responsibility is to speak at different engagements and possibly even make local television appearances! The 5K March of Dimes walk (for Seymour) is being held at Seymour High School on April 20th at 10:00am. We will have our team out in full force and we would love for YOU to join us! Many, many thanks to a dear friend, Alison Vinciguerra, for establishing us with a website to answer all your questions. 

Travel to {www.eliseselites.com} to see our team page Elise's Elites: giving our best for her best! On our web page, you will see simple instructions that will guide you on how to donate to March of Dimes on behalf of our team, order a team shirt from us, and/or sign up to walk with us on 4.20.13!
Without the love and support of March of Dimes, we cringe to think of Elise's possible outcome. Thank God we don't have to, but now it is our turn to raise money for future preemie babies so they may have a chance in this world! 

Seventy-six cents of every dollar goes directly to saving the lives of premature babies

I leave you with some updated pictures of our miracle baby. Enjoy! 


Those eyes!! 


The necklace my dear colleagues at Jackson School gave me after Elise was born. That is her first footprint! 

NICU Grad 2012

"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!"

February 14, 2012...6 days old

February 14, 2013...what a difference a year makes!
For Elise's first birthday, we decided to do something a little different. Since her NICU doctors and nurses mean the world to her, and us, we held her party at Bravos Italian restaurant on the north side of Indianapolis...a restaurant G and I frequented several times for dinners while we were visiting Elise in the NICU. We invited all her primary nurses and doctors to share in yummy appetizers, cake, and...snuggles! We were honored to have so many family members make the drive for this special party. It was also so wonderful to see her NICU buddies again...or as we like to call them, "Elise's miracle family."  Elise is so loved, and it is times like during the "Happy Birthday" song that I look out over the crowd that adore her; family, nurses, and doctors, and I am overcome with Mama emotions. The beginning of this journey was dark and scary, but now I feel as though we have weathered the storm, and we are basking in the blessings of those who prayed so hard and fiercely for Elise and our family.

Invitation courtesy of Alison Vinciguerra
visit her blog here!

Elise and Auntie B! (Her Uncle Matt and Auntie B made the long drive from Arkansas for this first special birthday...9 hours!)

Winter ONEderland theme
cake courtesy of Take the Cake 

Nurse Donna and Dr. Ben Saad

Grandma Raynor

Grandpa

Elise's God family got her a rocking elephant named "Daisy."

photo trees with photos from Elise's first year

Until Next Time....
G & J & E 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How Can I Love This Much?

I must say, I really miss blogging! But as all parents know, many days end while you crawl into bed and ponder in amazement how you ever got to the bathroom during the day. Ahhhh, parenthood!

I must catch you up on our tiny tot (a little lady who has many nicknames!) She currently weighs 9 lbs 7 oz! We traveled back to the NICU last week to repeat her swallow study. She is improving! We now thicken her bottles to the 'nectar' consistency rather than the 'honey thick.' The speech therapist was confident that in 1-2 months we will be able to move to the 'thin' consistency, which is just good ol' formula mixed with water. We won't know what to do with ourselves when it takes less than five minutes to prepare a bottle!

After taking her bottles like a champ, Elise still struggles with reflux. If we don't increase her Prilosec when her weight increases, we see signs of the reflux almost immediately. Looks like she may be on Prilosec for a year or so. That's not uncommon for preemies. However, we have been able to wean Elise off the lung medicine that helped her in the NICU to get fluid off her lungs and breathe at a normal rate. We are down to one medicine, given twice daily, and her vitamin...truly blessed!

Can you believe Elise will be six months old August 8th?? Of course she is not expected to act like a 6 month old, but she sure is doing some 2 month old tricks...which is her adjusted age!

I love to track people with my eyes!

Not so sure about this Bumbo thing...it's a lot of work to keep this big ol' head up! 

As for Elise's eyes, she is still right on track! The eye doctor wants to see us once more since the blood vessels have not grown the length of her eyes yet. The doctor hopes to see this happen in the next 1-2 months. Then, he will see her every 3 months. We have noticed a little bit of a lazy eye when Elise looks at us. However, Dr. Roberts said lazy eyes can not be determined until 4-5 months adjusted age. Since Elise is only 11 weeks adjusted, Dr. Roberts said what we are seeing might disappear as Elise continues out of the newborn phase.

At the eye doctor...waiting for my pupils to dilate! 

Elise has taken her eyes on a road trip this summer! We traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to visit Elise's Ami and Grande. We stopped halfway so Elise could snuggle with her great-grandma and great-grandpa Olsen. Elise did sooooo well in the car! I was quite worried before we left because our short trips to Target and back (30 minute car trips) usually involve Elise screaming her head off. I knew I would need to gather a lot of patience for a six hour trip to Milwaukee. To my shock and disbelief, Elise slept the ENTIRE six hours there AND back. This momma awarded her girl with several shopping trips while we were vacationing! ha!

Beautiful Lake Michigan...and a pretty cute baby!

Grande and Elise bonding over their synchronized tae kwon do moves 

Elise continues to be a wonderful baby! Many nights, we still have a fussy 1-2 hours when sometimes nothing soothes her. Those are the rough nights that we go through our bag of tricks searching for something to work. Usually, we resort to laying her in her crib and letting her 'cry it out.' It's not easy to listen to her scream, but knowing we've tried everything (and that 'crying it out' has never hurt a baby), the screams do become our listening 'pleasure' some nights. Still, 1-2 hours get no complaints from me. At eight weeks old, Elise started sleeping from 10:30p to 7:30a. I think God finally said, "Eh, give those Olsens a break!" We will take it!


Deep in thought...
As for our routine at home, Elise and I continue to become best buds. We attend aerobic classes each morning and sneak in some lunches with a busy daddy. Naps are fun in the afternoons and then Grandpa comes to see us when he gets off work in the afternoons.

"Gampa" and his little lady
As the school year quickly approaches for my teaching buddies, I do have mixed feelings. There is a part of me that misses getting my classroom ready, the first day jitters, meeting a new "family" of students, and adult conversations (that's a biggie) with all my teaching pals. However, I've thought of the flip side. I could be trying to juggle a career and dropping my child off at daycare, after it feels like we JUST got her home from the NICU. Many moms have this as their only choice. They have all my admiration and prayers! When I think about trying to be the best teacher I can be while worried my preemie is in a daycare, I cringe. I'm then reminded that I am where I need to be. Home with my babe...forming unforgettable memories.

Enjoying my first Olympic Opening Ceremony party...go  USA!!
P.S...the only age when stars and polka dots could be pulled off in the same outfit and look darling. 
Elise is VERY close to giving us her social smile! Sometimes she gives a real quick one...of course these are the times I DON'T have the camera in her face. Once she starts to smile and provide more interaction, I think my mixed feelings about working vs. staying home will diminish. Transitions in life are never easy, especially when a heart and soul are put into teaching, but each day as a stay-at-home-mom is a huge gift to me. I'm not going to ask for an exchange with this gift :)

Always a happy girl...working on our social smile! 
I will close this blog tonight with a new mother learning experience. When I announced my pregnancy, all my friends who were mothers told me that I could never love someone as much as my own child. My inexperienced mind thought, "Eh, sure I could. I love my students very much. And sadly, for some of my students, I do feel like their mothers. I also love my husband and brothers like crazy." However, I've learned this summer that a love for a child IS like no other. A day may be long and exhausting in this house, but when I tuck in Elise at night, I'm already thinking about kissing her in the morning.

Last week, before I went to sleep, I took one last glance at the camera, per my usual routine. The time was around midnight. I had laid Elise down around 10pm. To my surprise, when I glanced at the camera, Elise was laying in her crib calmly, but wide awake. I watched the camera for a few moments before I snuck upstairs and turned on the tiniest of light in Elise's nursery. I scooped her up and headed to the rocker in the corner of the room. The house was quiet. All I could hear was the dishwasher running downstairs and the softest coos coming from the babe in my arms. The light was dim, but I could certainly make out two big brown eyes staring up into mine. Before I knew it, tears were trickling down my cheeks. I couldn't stop whispering to Elise how much I loved her while giving her kisses all over her soft forehead. After a few moments, her eyes became heavy and she made some long blinks before she was finally sound asleep in my arms. I continued to rock and take in the moment before I quietly placed her in her crib, swaddled her, and tiptoed back downstairs into my own bed.

We always called the 8:00 hour in the NICU our 'night cap' with Elise before we made the trek back home to Seymour. Last week's night cap ranked number one by a landslide. It was such a magical moment for me....my heart about to burst while my mind was screaming, "I ADORE this new phase in my life...motherhood." I may have had a pretty rocky start to this new phase in my life, but I am finally becoming comfortable as Elise's mommy. A bond began when I found out we were expecting in September 2011...but now that bond has really started to strengthen.

As I was rocking Elise, I couldn't help but think about my own mother (hence, the tears were for many reasons). I'm sure my mom had similar moments with me when I was a baby, as I did with Elise last week, but I'd love to know all the tiny details now. I'd love to know a lot of things about my mom being a mother to me as a baby, but a 26 year old daughter doesn't always know to ask those detailed motherly questions before her mother passes.

I do know one thing. My mother IS the reason Elise is here, alive, and thriving.

Thanks for the chat last week, Mom. And if I didn't understand before, I now realize how much you loved me as your daughter. I plan to have a bond with Elise just like you and I had. Inseparable. There is no love quite like a mother and daughter.

Until Next Time...
G & J & E

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Preemie Catch Up Game

During our initial appointment with Dr. Kleber, Elise's pediatrician, she showed me Elise's growth charts. Knowing that I was a teacher, Dr. Kleber said that I would probably think the charts were pretty 'ugly' at the start. However, she told me that I would be intrigued while analyzing the charts as we continued to have appointments and plot Elise's measurements. She told me preemies play this fabulous catch up game with their measurements. By playing this 'game,' at the age of two or three Elise will measure just like a two or three year old that was born full-term.

When I first looked at the weight and height chart for Elise, Dr. Kleber was right. I cringed slightly. My poor girl had the have the chart extended downward just so she would make a 'point.' However, the more thought I put into it, the more understanding I gained (funny how that works?!) Her chart benchmarks (5th percentile and up) are based off her chronological age (5 months on July 8th). Moreover, her black points are based off her adjusted age (roughly one month old).

Weight


Height
Dr. Kleber was dead on when she said I would be intrigued with the charts! If you look at the curves on Elise's graphs, you can already see how she is showing signs of the Preemie Catch Up Game. She has a greater upward trend than you would expect from a full-term baby. So cool!

Speaking of weight, Elise is now up to 7 lbs 10 oz! We are still feeding her every 3-4 hours and we've increased her volume from 2 ounces to now 3 ounces. She doesn't always take the full 3 ounces, but she's consistently taking more than 2 ounces at every feed.

Yesterday, First Steps from Columbus came to our home to assess Elise. First Steps is the local program that sends therapists into the homes of babies/children who might have any type of delay from developmental to speech to cognitive. Yesterday, the therapists raved about how well Elise looks and all the progress she is making! After examining her, they recommended NO services as of right now....what a wonderful thing! They said everything she is doing is right on track for what a one month old baby should be doing. They gave us charts that show what Elise is doing and what she should be doing in the months to come. We will stay in their system so that if/when we see signs of delays in the future, we can contact them and they will come back to re-assess and provide services if needed.

We had a follow-up eye appointment today with Dr. Roberts in Greenwood today. His words were, "Elise's eyes are awesome guys!" He wants to see us in one month to make sure her blood vessels grow completely across her eyes (right now they are heading in that direction, but aren't finished growing). He will then see us in 3 months for a follow-up/discharge appointment. It's always difficult to pull out of the driveway at 7am with an infant to make it to these early appointments, but to receive that news from Dr. Roberts, the sleep deprivation/stress was well worth it!

As you can read, we continue to make great strides having our little lady home! Although most days are wonderful, I'm reminded daily that not everything about being a stay-at-home mommy is glorious and glamorous (the realistic side all mommies go through). There are days I don't get a chance to shower until G gets home from work. There are days the dishes sit. The kitchen floor is ridiculously dirty and laundry is begging to be washed. There are days I miss my mother terribly. I wish I could load up Miss E in the car and head to Nana Lisa's house for a visit. Girl time with my best pal and getting to watch my mother with her granddaughter. As I tell people who ask: at times, it's very hard to be a mother without a mother.

However, those days mentioned above are in between days when Elise and I stare at each other with our big brown eyes. She coos while looking into my eyes and my heart completely melts. Hours pass by just staring at each other. We take power walks, attend aerobic classes, have tummy time, and take cat naps together. If we are missing girl time that day, that's when I call up one of my fabulous girlfriends and we get together. Then, we wait for Daddy to get home from work so we can hear about his day and I can tell him about every "Elise moment" made throughout the day. Elise is Nana Lisa's little lady that was snuggled close in Heaven and kept safe in the NICU. It may be difficult at times to not have my best pal and mother with me physically, but there is a definite reason why Elise is our miracle baby.

Here are some of the latest photos of our sweet peanut...Enjoy!

All ready for church! 

When items do not fit, a lady must improvise!
On a power walk with Mommy

See what I mean about staring into my eyes and making my heart melt??


Until Next Time ~
G & J & E