Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happy Halloween!

As promised, here are some photos of Alivia in her Tulip Fairy costume (and one of me in mine--an 80's glam rock groupie--with my friend Brian.) Alivia and I had a really fun time at the Halloween party this evening. She took a late nap today so she could stay up late and she did really well all evening. She loves to show off and spent most of the night entertaining everyone with fake sneezes, her version of dancing and lots of cheesy grins. The evening started out on a rough note, though, when I couldn't find my car keys and so had no way to get us to the party...

Turned out that when she and I returned from grocery shopping this afternoon my car key got separated from the rest of my key ring and fell into her car seat as I lifted her out of it. Later, when I went to change clothes, my keys got hung up in my pocket and I had to yank them out, but didn't notice that one of the keys was missing. Then, when we got ready to leave for the party I realized the car key wasn't on the ring and started desperately searching the house for it.

I had already placed Alivia in her car seat, so I left her there while I got on my hands and knees in my bedroom searching. I was SO frustrated when I couldn't find the key anywhere and after about fifteen minutes of waiting on Mom, Alivia got frustrated, too, and started crying. I went to the car to soothe her and, low and behold, when I pulled her out of the car seat I spotted the key. It was almost tucked into the side of her seat, so it was a lucky thing that I happened to see it.

Anyway, after that near disaster I buckled Alivia up again and we took off for the party. We managed to arrive only a half hour late and so got to make a grand entrance. Alivia loved the opportunity to play "Pass the Baby" and spent a little time cuddling with just about everyone there. She also got to try some chocolate covered bananas--a big hit, let me tell you!

It was nearly 11 p.m. when we got home, so I'm hoping she will sleep in a bit in the morning. She was such a trooper all evening, though, and really seemed to have a good time.

~ Jeana

Friday, October 27, 2006


Things are going pretty well here in Alivia-land. I hope to have some new photos to share this weekend. Alivia and I are attending a costume first anniversary party for some friends of mine and that, along with Halloween, should provide plenty of photo ops.

Alivia is developing a bit of a temper these days, though. She likes to scream when she doesn't get her way and, unfortunately, her way is usually a little too dangerous for Mom or Gran to approve. She has this incredible fascination with power cords and she loves to fall. Yes, fall... She will pull herself up to a standing position and then simply let go so she can free fall backwards. When she's on a soft surface it's usually not too problematic, but my house has hard wood floors and Gran's house is all ceramic tile (in Florida we tend to go for cooler surfaces like these) so it can be really dangerous for her to fall that way. She also has a thing for trying to eat the cats' food. At least she hasn't discovered the litter boxes yet...

I've got an appointment on November 6th to have Alivia evaluated by the early intervention specialists. Hopefully they will help us come up with ways of dealing with some of the above as well as working on her language, motor skills and and other development issues. Alivia has come a long way since coming home, but still has a lot of catching up to do, both physically and developmentally.

Speaking of physical stuff, though... Alivia is up to 27.5 inches now! She's still a lightweight, but it makes me so happy to see her growing. She's still off the bottom of the charts (29.5 is about the 5 percentile mark for a 16 month old and she's 15.5 months), but she is catching up! On the weight she is still about 4 lbs. off the 5 percentile mark for her age. Doesn't sound like much, but when you consider she's only gaining about 1 lb. per month, it's a lot. Of course, that's all using the standard growth charts. If you use the growth charts for low birth weight premature girls, she's doing a little better, but still below the 5th percentile in both areas.

Well... that's all for now. Time to get back to work!

~ Jeana

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Back to Work...

The dreaded day finally arrived this past Monday and I'm now back at work. Alivia is handling the transition well. She is spending her days with Gran and the dogs and doesn't have much time to miss Mama. She is overjoyed to see me when I arrive in the evenings to pick her up, though, which just warms my heart.

We had a nice time this past weekend at our family reunion in Georgia. It was the first time for most of the family to meet Alivia and she managed to charm everyone. She came home loaded down with all kinds of lovely presents from her new extended family, too! She's gonna think Christmas is nothing after this...

Our challenge now is getting over the head colds we both managed to catch while we were running around. Aivia's nose is almost always pretty red, but right now it almost glows in the dark from all the tissue wipes she's getting. Benadryl seems to be helping, but she doesn't know how to blow her nose yet so we have to constantly use the little aspirator thingy on her, too. She thinks it's the funniest thing and giggles every time we use it.

Other than that the transition back to work has been a fairly smooth one. Alivia loves being with Gran and having the dogs to play with so she's pretty happy with the situation. The only bad thing from her point of view is that Mama has to wake her up earlier than she wants to get up. And of course I'm having to get up incredibly early just to be able to get ready and get her ready to go in time. It's definitely been an adjustment!

And I have to admit that while I miss being with Alivia all the time, I do enjoy having conversations that involve more than just babies. It's nice to have adult conversations every once in a while! If only I didn't have to get up quite so early in the morning to have them...

~ Jeana

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Best Medicine!

I woke up feeling ill this morning and was just laying on the sofa watching Alivia play in her play station and feeling guilty because I wasn't interacting with her more. Suddenly out of nowhere Alivia comes up with the best medicine. She was playing a little song on her play station and then turned to face me and very slowly and clearly (and for the very first time!) said "Mama." All of a sudden my upset tummy didn't matter anymore! I felt like I was on top of the world!

I wish there was a way to upload video footage here because I managed to get several minutes of her saying "Mama" and practicing her fake sneezes. I have a feeling I have a budding actress on my hands! Since I can't upload video, here's the next best thing... a photo of her all bundled up this morning because it's actually downright cold here!

Now if she'll only take those first few solo steps before I have to go back to work next week...

~ Jeana

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday, October 7, was the three month anniversary of court and the day Alivia and I officially became a family. We celebrated with a trip to Disney World and Alivia was a little trooper! My friends Justin and Gil went with us and we were able to take advantage of WDW's baby pass on all of the rides we wanted to go on. Baby pass is where some members of your party go on the ride while one or two members sit with the baby, then immediately after you switch off and the ones who sat with the baby get to ride while the others sit with the baby. Since there were three of us there with Alivia, Justin got to ride everything twice while Gil and I took turns sitting with Alvia. It made the day fun for all of us. And of course we went on several rides that Alivia could go on, too!

At the age of 15 months, Alivia didn't really understand the whole Disney thing, but she loved the music, the colors and the activity. She especially loved the Kabuki drummers in Epcot and danced during their whole show. The people around us were watching her more than the drummers. She was so cute! She also liked the concert that we heard by Starship at Epcot. In the Magic Kingdom we got some photos of her with Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Goofy. That was at about 8:45 p.m. and not a moment too soon--she finally passed out when we left the Toon Town County Fair character photo place. I was amazed she lasted that long! She didn't take a nap all day even though I tried to get her to do so. She just trooped right along with smiles and giggles for everyone the whole day. No tears, no fussing. It was wonderful to see--especially when we saw so many other families dealing with tantrums and tired, crying babies.

We picked a beautiful day to go--the weather was perfect (warm and breezy) and the parks weren't too crowded. I also took advantage of the baby stations in each park to feed and change her and to give her a chance to get out of her stroller and crawl around a bit. The baby stations are really nice. They have high chairs, padded changing tables, private nursing rooms, adult restrooms, a playroom for older kids with Disney cartoons playing, and a supply of diapers, formula and other baby needs in case you run out. They have a cast member on duty all the time to help you, too. It's really nice to have an air conditioned place where you can rest for a few minutes when you're there with a baby!

It was a fun day for all of us, I think, and we were all pleasantly exhausted by the end of it! We didn't get to spend enough time at Magic Kingdom, though. I'd like to take Alivia back there in a couple months and take her on Small World and a few other rides that I know she will enjoy. She's such a music lover! And I can't wait until she's old enough to understand where she is and to be excited about meeting Mickey and friends! Those will be the best trips!

~ Jeana

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Happy Wednesday!

It's amazing how busy you can stay with a baby in the house! Alivia and I have been having all kinds of fun! She loved having Diane and Susie babysit her when my parents and I went to see "Menopause". They played with her the entire time, singing and dancing, and literally wore her out--along with themselves, I'm sure! All of them seemed to enjoy it, though, so I've already asked them about watching her again next month when we go to see the Blue Man Group.

My return to work is looming on the horizon and I'm slowly getting ready for it. I've decided to revamp my image at work and bought a new work wardrobe with that in mind. I'm hoping it will help me to get promoted. It's going to be hard going back to work and leaving Alivia during the day--a new job with new challenges and a bigger paycheck might make it just a little bit easier. My mom is all excited about keeping Alivia while I'm at work. She's making plans for all kinds of fun activities for them. It's making me a little jealous...

This past weekend Alivia, mom and I went to Orlando for the Children's Hope International informational meeting. All of the families there were interested in adopting from Russia so I had a very interested audience to hear about our adventures in adopting. Alivia charmed everyone. I probably could have auctioned her off to the highest bidder and made a killing! She's such a little sweetheart!

This coming weekend, weather pending, we are going to head back to Orlando to go to the Magic Kingdom. If it's too hot or if it's rainy we'll see if we can find something else to do. Maybe a little early Christmas shopping...

~ Jeana