Friday, May 27, 2011

Christmas has come early. Daniel has his two front teeth!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Baywatch revisited

Over the past week we have been enjoying the company of Colonel Bruce on a visit over from HQ. The silliness factor has multiplied one hundred fold. As testament to this, please enjoy the attached hommage to the 90s TV show that was set right here on the coastline where we now live, and was part of our childhood! David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson: eat your hearts out!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Now let me update you on the rest of last week...

We got to see most of our precious friends from the Bay area, which was an absolute treat and made us realise, yet again, how good God has been to us in providing such a wonderful group of friends in such a relatively short time.

On Tuesday Daniel had his audiology check-up. The appointment was at 1pm - right in the middle of his daily nap time - so he was a tired little boy before we even started. From my speech therapy training, I know that getting a reliable hearing assessment on a young child is notoriously difficult, since it requires them to a) sit still, b) concentrate on faint, random noises & c) turn their head towards these faint, random noises (which, once you've turned towards a few and nothing much has happened, looses it's appeal)... I was therefore unsurprised to hear that the results indicate that although it is very likely that Daniel has perfect hearing, they were unable to absolutely cancel out the possibility of mild hearing loss in one ear... which, if that is the case (and I am almost certain it's not), they wouldn't do anything about anyway. We're going to check it again in a year.

On Tuesday afternoon I went on a lovely walk + pray with Julia, my treasured friend and role-model. As always, it was a soul-refreshing time... amongst other things, I shared about how I was realising just how deeply I value and rely on my external appearance for my security & confidence... we prayed... the Lord heard &, as only He could, He provided a way to start hacking away at that confidence straight away. Just as the Lord provided a worm for Jonah, the Lord provided a mosquito for me! A mosquito that bit me just above my right eye.

Unbeknown to me, among my other post-30yrs auto-immune conditions, I have now developed a fairly severe allergic reaction to mosquito bites! Oh my! By Wednesday morning, my forehead and eye were the size of a cricket ball - VERY attractive! (this photo was taken on Thursday morning - believe it or not, it had gone down quite a lot by then!)

After a quick trip to the ER for strong anti-histamines, we ploughed on to our accommodation in Kings Canyon.

There, despite the swollen eye, we spent 2 1/2 fantastic days, bathed in glorious sunshine, enjoying the spectacular beauty of this section of God's breathtaking creation... it was fabulous.

My wonderful husband then drove us home on Friday night and we have spent a lovely weekend at home as a family, resting and getting the house ready to welcome our good friend, the 'Colonel Brooooooooster', Mr big Stevie himself, who arrives from the UK tomorrow lunchtime!

Who you gonna call?!

Yesterday I saw perhaps the best thing I've seen since I've been in the United States.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Praise the Lord! Oh my! The appointments for Daniel yesterday could not have been more positive!

First thing in the morning, he had his developmental review where a specialist developmental doctor tested him on all sorts of physical, cognitive and language tasks... she kept saying 'oh he is amazing!' (which of course, he is!). Yesterday he was 11 months and 5 days from his due date. He came out as being at a 12 month level for cognition and language and a solid 11 month level for physical development.

Initially I was a bit disappointed, thinking 'but he's 15 months old, shouldn't he be catching up?', but then the doctor explained that she is actually doing a PhD on this very issue. She said that the research that everyone uses to support the notion that premature babies 'catch up' within 2 years is based on data from babies born at 35 weeks - CLEARLY a 24 weeker has more ground to make up! She said that they are actually moving away from the expectation that these babies born really early will somehow speed through development at faster rate than a normal baby in order to 'catch up' with their birth date. Instead, she said that a more evidence based approach is to say that a baby has 'caught up' if they are in line with their DUE date age - judging by this standard, our son has completely 'caught up' and is, in fact excelling in most areas! Wahoo!

The doctor could not have been more positive. She had no real pointers for things we needed to be working on. She was absolutely thrilled with Daniel and in fact, she said that she couldn't remember meeting a more sociable, attentive and observant little boy - those skills are vital for learning and she said that you cant really 'teach' parents how to engender those skills in their children, but the fact that Daniel has them is wonderful and will hopefully mean he is able to concentrate and learn when he hits school! Yeah!

In the afternoon we had a respiratory appointment. The day just kept getting better! The doctor listened as I explained how Daniel had quickly fought off 2 chest infections recently. He asked about Daniel's energy levels and ability to be active (oh my! NO concerns there - in fact, do you know where his 'off' switch is?!)... he then listened to Daniel's lungs. At the end of the appointment he looked at me and said, "I know it's hard for you, because you have the memories of your little boy rigged up to all sorts of wires and tubes, but, as far as you can, I would encourage you to try and forget the start in life that your child had. In terms of his lungs, there is absolutely no sign that he has any degree of lung damage. There is no reason why his lungs should limit him in any way. If he wants to be a professional sportsman, he can. The fact he has fought off infection so quickly tells me that there is no underlying damage - most preemies take weeks to get back to full health after an infection has gone to their chest, but Daniel is fighting infection just like a normal baby"... STUNNED (and slightly emotional) SILENCE. Praise God!

I have just been SO thanking God and thinking about the story of Daniel in the Lion's den from the bible. Daniel is thrown into a pit of hungry lions but, come the morning, there is not a scratch on him because God has protected him. My little Daniel was thrown into his own Lion's den at 24 weeks... humanly speaking, he should have at least SOME 'scratches' - either mentally, physically or emotionally... but he has emerged completely unharmed.

Praise God! I mean, PRAISE GOD!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hi there!

Ed and I LOVED watching the Royal wedding - we probably enjoyed it more being out here since we've been on an enforced 2 year fast from all things English - so it was an absolute delight to see smartly dressed aristocracy, hear plummy English accents and see the historic buildings and streets of London...

In the pre-amble, the TV coverage filmed a group of the Irish guards marching in the full attire, complete with the ridiculous Busby hats... the American commentator explained that William was due to be wearing the traditional red jacket of the Irish guards and then, with fantastic comic timing, the other commentator chimed in "but will he be wearing that chapeau?"... we have both been collapsing in hysterical fits of giggles at the memory of this comment ever since! Brilliant! Just the thought of our future king walking down the aisle in that hat!

On other news... I am beginning to learn that babies are awesome at fighting off infections! Although he seemed very unwell on Thursday last week, by Friday he was already significantly better and on Saturday he hardly coughed at all! He is doing really well... the main highlight of this week is that he has started saying 'Mummy' and 'Daddy' really clearly - and often it seems that he IS actually aware that he is saying our names! Awww how to melt a parent's heart!

These are some of the photos we took this weekend - the highlight for Daniel was sharing Daddy's ICECREAM - what a TREAT! (you see the evidence all down his chin in the first photo!)