Thursday, June 30, 2011

That's What Solana Said - June

I'm teasing Dave about something or other.
Solana: Mommy, were you just joking with Daddy?
Me: Oh yes. I was just joking.
Solana: Sometimes I just don't get your grownup jokes.

We're sitting at the breakfast table finishing up our lunch and silently staring out the window at the humming bird feeder. In an unprecidented quiet voice (she usually has only one volume), "Mommy, those who are quiet get more out of nature because then nature won't be scared of you and maybe won't even know you're there." Chloe immediately feeds Monty her cracker and the whole room erupts in silliness and laughter. So much for quiet nature time!

"Mommy! I finished [my dinner] and you didn't even have to tell me five times!!!!! Only two! Mommy, how many times did you tell me to finish?"
"Only two."
"See!!!! I told you!!! You only had to tell me two times!!!" She then proceeds to happy dance her way out of the kitchen.

I'm talking to Dave about the fact that I keep forgetting to buy ribs when I go shopping. Solana asks, "What do you want ribs for?"
"To cook them," I reply.
"PEOPLE RIBS?!?!" she asks, horrified.

Solana and I are packing for our big trip to Texas and Mexico. First, we went though all of her things and she tried on lots of tops and dresses that she hasn't worn since last summer. We needed to see if they still fit. Then we moved on to my stuff. She had the option of going to watch TV or staying to help and she was feeling pretty important so she decided to help me. I tried on a pair of skinny shorts and wasn't sure if they would fit or not. "Solana, tell me what you think about these shorts. Do they fit or do they look too tight?"
"Mommy, they look FINE. You look like a Top Model. They totally fit."
"Ooooh! In that case, I'll definitely pack them!"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Determined Daredevil

Chloe is giving Dave and me little heart attacks. She's practicing walking constantly and will spontaneously let go and walk through the living room on her own. This is fine. Except that she insists on walking toward the coffee table, end table, piano bench, entertainment center....anything that would hurt really really badly if she fell face first into it. Our once innocent living room is now a danger zone and Dave and I find ourselves sprinting to and fro every time she unexpectedly decides to go on a little adventure!

But not to worry. We can take comfort in the fact that, in just a couple of days, I'll whisk the girls away to Texas. We'll stay at my parents' house where they have all tile floors on the main level and a luxurious STONE coffee table. From there we'll fly to Mexico. Chloe can practice her fledgling toddling skills around the resort: at the pool...or in our suite... If I recall correctly, there's no rug or carpet to be seen anywhere in the place. Maybe she can catch herself on the pointy steps that lead up into the hot tub...?

My friend, Megan, recently posted about some cute knee pads she bought for her son. I figured the knee pads would be great for Chloe since she'll be crawling around on tile for our entire week in Mexico. I was thrilled when they arrived in the mail but she's spent more time on her feet than her knees the past few days. Maybe we should buy her a helmet, instead...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chloe's First Steps. Sunday, June 12th

Chloe took her first steps on Sunday. Five of them, to be precise. Her motivation. Daddy. And it was so weird because she walked to him as though she was already a seasoned walker. No shaking. No wobbling. No running to beat a crash landing. Just five perfectly controlled steps. Her audience included us and our friends, the Maggards, and their two little girls. Everyone erupted in cheers and screams when she completed her walk on the moon. Chloe LOVED it. She kept trying over and over. And regardless of her sucess she expected volcanic screams after every try. And if nobody else provided them she made sure to provide them herself. It was pretty hilarious. I think she cheered herself on with screams of joy for the next ten minutes straight.

Chloe's been a walking fiend the past few weeks. All she wants to do is hold someone's hand and go go go. Completely obsessed. I'm glad we've at least graduated to the one-handed walk because I was beginning to feel (and sound) like an old lady complaining about my lower back pain. Her physical therapist came on Wednesday and didn't really have any advise. She said Chloe's progressing perfectly and right now she just needs a little time and practice. (That was really nice to hear, by the way.)

Since Sunday Chloe has taken several 2-5 step free walks in the living room and back yard. I have a feeling she may become a true "walker" just in time for our trips to Texas and Mexico in a couple of weeks. Yikes!

Check out this video. It was taken back on the 7th, when Chloe was just beginning the one-handed walk. It's a little shaky and perhaps hard to see. Solana's narration is worth it, though...definitely superior to her videography skills.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Solana Ballerina

Yesterday was Solana's ballet recital. They started in September and worked all year toward this event. I have to say that she did marvelously and really enjoyed it! About 3/4 of the way through the year she started complaining and didn't ever want to go to class. But we committed for the year so she had to finish. And then...they got their costumes. Thank goodness for that! Not a single other complain was to be heard. But I think we were all happy for the year to be over. Nine months was a long time for Solana to stick with ballet. I'd already decided that we'd do activities that were shorter or more flexible next year - like swimming/cheer leading that are month-to-month and we can do them as we please. But as soon as we got home from the recital Solana was already planning her next dance class...maybe jazz or tap...? We'll see...

I would be remiss if I didn't include a side story about my mom-of-the-year moment. The recital started at 3pm. She was supposed to be dressed and ready to go on stage at a quarter 'till so I'd decided we should leave home 30 minutes before curtain (it's a 3 minute drive) and that would give us plenty of time to put on her dress and be ready (hair/makeup was done at home.) Chloe was still napping when it was time to go so Dave would wake her up and bring her just in time for curtain. A friend was saving us seats and Chloe could snack on cheerios during the recital. It was a perfect plan.

Except for the fact that the recital actually started at 2pm. Ahem. The paper was sitting right out on our coffee table. But did I look at it? No. I changed the time in my head and never double-checked.

We arrived 35 minutes into the recital and as soon as we entered the dressing room one of the moms saw the costume in my hand and said, "They just took those girls back. They're about to go on stage!" I completely lost all sense of cool. This was definitely not my brightest moment. The moms in the room quickly swarmed. They must have smelled panic on me the way dogs smell fear. One was unbuttoning the back of Solana's dress. Another grabbed her tights and started gathering them in her hands. And I began pleading with Solana to undress, which she flatly refused. There was no way in the world she was about to strip down to her panties in front of a bunch of strangers. We promised that nobody was looking and we're all girls, anyway. Nope. Not doing it. I could see the entire 9 months of rehearsal and Solana's big recital day going up in smoke. Poof! We would be 2 minutes late for her recital and it would be all my fault. Finally, the tights were on under her dress, she stepped into costume and simultaneously pulled her dress over her head (saving modesty). Someone put a clip in her hair while I got her ballet slippers on and she was ushered away by someone. I don't even know who. I raced to the auditorium and can't even remember if I thanked those moms. Ugh. Seriously. Like I said, not my brightest moment.

I sat down and there was one dance before Solana. I used it to think about all the horrible anxiety-filled energy I just fed to Solana (What would that do to her performance? She's never performed on a stage this big) and also to text Dave. My hands were shaking so badly I couldn't even fix the typos in my text. I felt soooo bad! I wanted to throw up and/or die. Either would have been fine at that moment. (But if I died NOBODY would be there to watch Solana's performance. Bad enough I already prevented Dave from watching it. I decided to live.) Sometimes my forgetfulness and absent-mindedness is endearing. Not today.

Thankfully, Solana is unflappable. She performed brilliantly. And she didn't even ask for Dave after the show. I wonder if she just assumed he had to stay home to babysit Chloe and wasn't planning to come. She noticed her friends had flowers after the performance and asked for some. Dave ran errands when we got home and came back with flowers for her. She was thrilled.

Thank goodness she wasn't affected by my mess! Oh my gosh what a day!

Professional Portrait

Flowers From Daddy after the show.

I stopped on the way home so we could jump out and take some pretty pictures by the flowers. Solana made up her own poses and let me know when we should stop. We were there for quite a while.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chloe's First Fit

Question: What could cause me to feel the following sequentially and simultaneously?

Answer: Chloe throwing her first in-store tantrum at Target!

I let her walk through most of Target but picked her up when we got to the register so that I could get cash out of my pocket. She wanted to be down and let everyone around us know. I'm pretty sure that's never happened to me before. Ever! Not ever with Solana and certainly not with Chloe.

By the way, the entire episode lasted the amount of time it took one person to check out in front of us. She gave up trying to get down right before it was our turn. And at that time she was covered in snot and tears. And I was drenched in sweat. going to be interesting...

Solana Finishes Kindergarten

It's no joke. Time flies. It seems like just yesterday I put Solana on the school bus for the first time and was surprised that I actually got a little choked up as the yellow bus drove off with my little girl. Since then Solana has grown and learned so much! I can't believe how well she reads and writes! I'm almost certain I wasn't reading like her when I was in Kindergarden. During conferences several weeks ago her teacher told me she's reading above grade level and said, "Solana's wonderful. You're very lucky." When I relayed this comment to Dave he jokingly asked if I told her, "No. You're very lucky." :-) She loves seeing her friends and teachers but still runs up to me and gives me a hug when she gets off the bus. (Ok, I sort of bribe her by spinning her when she jumps into my arms.)

Solana is friendly (never met a stranger and says "bye" to every single person, addressing them by name, on the way out of school), thoughtful (upset when a classmate called the custodian names), well-liked (every single kid hangs out of the bus to wave to her after school), kind (happy to pour half her bubbles into the bottle of a boy who spilled his during the class party), and smart as all get out! We're very proud of you Solana! Our big first grader!

First Day of School

Last Day of School. Her face is ever so slightly longer. Her legs are definitely longer!

First bus ride. A little timid.

Last Kindergarden Bus Ride. Blowing kisses to her friends while exiting!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Camping Trip!

We love camping. Dave and I did a bunch of tent camping before we were married but decided to buy a pop-up camper when Solana arrived. We went several times every year ages 1, 2, and 3. We even went on a couple of trips when I was pregnant with the twins but obviously quit camping when we were diagnosed with TTTS and went on bedrest. We ended up taking off most of the 2009 season and all of the 2010 season (after Chloe came home...camping with an oxygen tank and tubes just didn't seem appealing or smart). This is Chloe's second summer at home and now that she's off oxygen and doing really well we decided this is the summer for her to begin our family tradition of camping!!!

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally our first camping trip. For our first trip with the baby we decided to get a cabin at one of the Ohio State Parks. Our good friends, the Maggards, joined us.

We've added Chloe and Monty to our brood since our last camping trip and they're both a handful. So we thought we should leave one dog behind to make things just a bit easier. Of our two dogs, we only have one that would be welcome spending the weekend with friends so Bluebell got to stay behind. Our neighbors were great and offered to take her (even though they were taking their own trip to Cincinnatti!) But don't feel sorry for Bluebell missing camping. Our neighbors have a dog that she got to play with all weekend long!

Our cabin was great! There was a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, and a screened in porch. I even let Chloe crawl around on the floor! Gasp! (After I got on hands and knees and scrubbed the whole thing :-) And everyone was so cute taking off shoes before entering the cabin the whole rest of the weekend! Such great friends who cater to my anxiety! Hehehe :-D

We spent a lot of time hanging out near the cabin and relaxing.

The boys are checking out the ravine behind the cabin. (Or is Jas just taking a smoke break?)

I love this picture! I don't know what Kylie's saying but it seems incredibly interesting!
Ari was admiring Dave's hat. She is toooo cute!

Chloe tasted her first marshmallow! Bah! All done!

Solana tasted her gazillionth smore. The best part about camping! Angela brought the biggest marshmallow I've EVER seen! I swear they're as big as Solana's fist!

Chloe had a seat by the fire...

The girls all love crafts. They set up their own nature craft center. I don't think they used the lighter fluid but I'm not sure...

We went to the Lake one afternoon. The girls had a BLAST! I don't know how they got in that freezing cold water, though. Fortunately, I had the excuse of watching Chloe so I only had to get in ankle deep. Ha!

My buddy, Angela, and me.

The girls dug around in the sand forever. I remember when that used to be fun. I was so glad they had a good time!

Chloe walked about five miles that day. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. When I got tired...

she recruited Dave and when Dave got tired...

she recruited Angela. She's such a little stinker. And I'm crazy about Angela's swimsuit. So cute!

Our other outing was for a hike in the woods. Here's Chloe getting buckled into her cool hiking backpack.

Ready to go!

Jason went into this pond to retrieve some water lilies for the girls. Fortunately, his flip flop made it out with him!

Angela took this picture of the girls in a cave they found along the way. I LOVE THIS PICTURE! Kylie: Serene. Ari: Goofy. Solana: Crazy! Hahaha! The funniest part is that this does not necessarily represent their personalities. :-)

It was so pretty...

Monty enjoyed the hike and the cave, too!

It was a great trip! We were lucky the rain stopped just in time for our trip and we had great weather all weekend long. We're glad to have such good friends to camp and hang out with! Everything went swimmingly and we can't wait for the 2011 camping season to continue!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Christina Marie Solis

I grew up the oldest of 3. But I wasn't the first child born to my parents. They named their first daughter Christina Marie. She was a gorgeous little girl and graced their lives for 6 glorious years and 39 magnificent days. Sort of like Solana and Chloe, my sisters and I grew up with an angel sister watching over us.

I know only a little bit about her. I know her pretty little face from the portrait that was always displayed in our home. I know that my parents loved her very much and that my mother was always sad on April the 4th, the day she died. (She wasn't really obvious about it and I wasn't as sensitive to her sadness as my sister, Leticia. She's the one who pointed that out to me.) My Aunts called her "Tina" and my father once told me, with a smile, that she was kind of spoiled. What could you expect, though? She was the only grandchild of my Grandma and Grandpa. And they concurred with my dad's assessment. My Grandpa used to brag that Christina would arrive at their house and ask them to take her shopping. They loved it and often indulged her.

Christina was a fan of the Brady Bunch and wanted a baby sister named Cindy. Instead, my parents got her a cat that she named Cindy. They didn't plan on having any other children because they needed to focus all their attention on their precious daughter. The reason was that Christina had a congenital heart disease called Tetralogy of Fallot. Very simply, the heart is supposed to pump oxygenated blood throughout your body but in her case, the heart sometimes pumped non-oxygenated blood throughout her body. Babies born with this defect are often called Blue Babies because they turn blue as a result of the lack of oxygen in their blood. Christina couldn't walk very far, my Mom once told me. She sometimes started turning blue and had to be carried. She had multiple open-heart surgeries and was taken home to God while in recovery from her last.

My Dad was in the military. They were quickly moved from Texas to Pensacola, Florida and then San Vito, Italy. Cindy, the cat, didn't want to move and disappeared when it was time to go. I was born the year following Christina's passing. Although they lived in Italy at the time, my Mom was sent to the military hospital in Germany to await my arrival. Alone, in a foreign country, without even her husband for company, she went into labor early, and I arrived unexpectedly on February 24th. That was Christina's birthday - the first since her last.

I always felt special for sharing Christina's birthday. (I also got her middle name and initials.) And the dimples I sport are proof of our special connection. You do know that dimples happen when an angel kisses you on your way down from heaven, right? I'm pretty sure she gave me a big hug and kiss on my way down to keep Mommy and Daddy company.

But not until having my own daughter did I imagine what it might have felt like to lose a child. What emotions must my Mom have felt? When the doctor gave her the news and she banged on his chest crying. That day in the delivery room? Every year on my (our) birthday? On April 4th of my 6th year? Think about it. On the anniversary of her passing I was the exact same age - to the day - that she was. How difficult must that have been? I wonder how I acted that day. I hope I was a good little girl.

But, I guess, part of the reason I never thought about the sadness was because my parents didn't dwell on the loss of their daughter. They didn't talk about her a ton growing up. But when they did they did it in a way that never upset us girls. We had an angel sister and we were lucky and special to have her watching over us. They had a daughter who would have been 16, would have been 21, would have been 30, would have been 43. I'm sure they miss her every day and feel sadness often but, from my perspective, they chose to hold tight to her joy. They chose to focus on and appreciate the three daughters that they got to raise to adulthood.

Today Solana is 6 years and 39 days old. She was probably about 9 months old the first time I looked at her and thought of Christina and my parents' loss. I remember sitting on the floor with her in our Colorado house and talking to Dave about it. And I always knew that today would be a day of contemplation for me. Solana and Chloe are going to be sick of me hugging them so many times today. I am thankful for every day that I have them and will never forget how lucky I am. And I'll never forget my sister, Christina.

Mommy and Daddy - you are amazing and wonderous parents and people for and to whom I am eternally thankful. You taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. You made my sisters and me the people we are today and I think we're pretty good people. And perhaps we owe Christina a debt of gratitude for showing you the depth of your love even before we arrived.

Your loving and devoted daughter, Cynthia Marie.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Milestone Communication

We just arrived home yesterday from a weekend camping trip with some friends (post to come) when Chloe told me something! We've been working on communication. She points to her tummy and my nose when asked. She blows kisses and gives hugs. When she cries for something she sees/wants I tell her to say "please" and she'll sign please to me. She pants at the dogs and says "Nana" for "Solana." She says' "Nigh Nigh" when it's time for bed. She's learning all kinds of fun and new words but she's never really used them to tell me anything.

When we arrived home from camping we were a flurry of business. Quickly unload the food from the cooler to the fridge. Unload all the bags, dog stuff, camping gear. Eat lunch. Etc. Amidst all the hustle and bustle I completely spaced the fact that we were almost an hour past Chloe's nap time!

Ater picking up Bluebell from the neighbor's house I walked into the living room with a big sigh. Whew! Time to take a breather. Chloe quickly crawled over and pulled up on my legs. I picked her up but she threw her torso back down so I put her down. She pulled up on the couch and started patting her hand on her Boppy pillow that was sitting on the couch - the one she lays in the drink her bottle. "What? You want your pillow?" I picked it up and she immediately began making her sign for "bottle." She was telling me she wanted to lay on her pillow and drink her bottle!!! This was soooo exciting!!!

(Chloe has NEVER asked for food. I often joke that she could go all day without eating and never complain about it. Solana used to tell us she was hungry from day 1. She'd get terribly fussy and cry when she was little if we were 5 minutes late with her bottle. If she was fussy, one of our questions was always, "could she be hungry?" Chloe doesn't get fussy. She's always content. She only cries when she SEES her bottle. Like she's suddenly starving and didn't realize it until the bottle appeared.)

I quickly ran to the kitchen to make her bottle and I could hear her starting to cry already. She drained the bottle (also unusual) and then went down for her nap.