Sunday, July 31, 2011

Toilet Paper Roll

Has your toilet paper roll ever looked like this? I tried to roll it up as neatly as possible but it's kind of hard to do a good job on those. Not to mention the fact that I gave up trying to do a good job about halfway though. You may wonder why I was rolling up toilet paper...

Well, right before I began rolling it up it looked like this...

And right before it looked like that it looked like this:

Chloe's clapping for herself. Not cute little dudette. Not cute at all. Well, ok. Maybe it's pretty cute. :-)

That's what Solana said - July

7/6/11 Solana is a vacation girl. She LOVES vacation - absorbs and enjoys every thrilling second of it. As we drove from the airport in Houston to my parent's house, I asked her, "Did you enjoy our vacation in Mexico?" She shocked me with her answer of, "Yes, but I miss home." Coulda' fooled me! But it was very sweet. I'm glad she likes home, too. :-)

7/7/11 Our 6th and final flight of our Summer adventure was a one hour hop from Chicago to Dayton. I didn't pull out anything from Solana's carry-on (coloring books, readers, book on CD, activity books, stuffed animals etc.) I just handed her a little box of Mexican Coco Krispies (the last vestige of naughty eating from vacation). She spent the entire flight puring bits of dry cereal into her mouth and finished right as we made our final decent into the Dayton area, at which time she declared, "Mommy! I didn't do ANYTHING the whole time and I wasn't even BORED!"
7/10/11 We're in the garden with my cousin, Tricia, her husband, Steve, and daughters, Kayla and Taylor. Solana's walking up with their son, Sean, and we hear her say, "Ask my Mommy. She knows everything." I have witnesses!

7/10/11 Solana had a hard time going to bed after our family visitors left. I went into her room at 9:40pm and she's laying in bed with the lights on. "What are you doing? Why are the lights on?" She replies, "I was just thinking about how thankful I am (this is where I expected her to say something about how much fun she had) for...all the things you and Daddy give me. My piggy bank...some of my rocking kitty..." At which point I got her blinds closed and made my way back to her door, shut off the light, and interrupted her soliloquy..."my trampoline..." "Ok. That's great. Now you can dream about how thankful you are. Good ni-ight." :-) Turkey.

7/16/11 We're shopping for clothing at Kohl's. Solana and I are entering the dressing room with an armload of clothes for her to try on when she declares, "This shirt is really hot." Confusion. Did she really just say 'hot'? I ask, "What do you mean, hot?" She just stares at me. I clarify, "Do you mean it makes you feel hot and sweaty?" "Nooo. You know Mommy. It' know...fashionable." I'm not sure where she picked up the term 'hot' for fashionable. I definitely don't use it...kinda scary! My baby is being influenced by outside sources and I don't know if I like that!

7/29/11 We're watching So You Think You Can Dance. It's Caitlyn & Ivan doing a sexy hip hop number. Solana says, "She's just pretty much hot, huh, Mommy?" "What do you mean, 'hot'?" "It means that she's doing a good job at that dance." "Oh, then in that case, yes." I feel really out of the cool kid lingo these days! And I'm starting to re-think all the summer camp sessions run by teenagers Solana's been attending. :-)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chloe the Character

Chloe is changing so much lately! She's a full-on walker now and goes all over the house. I love her new found freedom and mobility. It makes her so happy and she's playing a lot more with Solana, which is so fun to see.

Her walking is a little scary to me, though, because she still loses her balance sometimes and falls. And her general walking style is "crazy baby on the brink of losing control." Also, because of her vision impairment she doesn't see some obstacles and sometimes has trouble with distance and depth perception. For example, she tends to not see people's feet or legs on our livingroom carpet. I never noticed that our carpet was so close to flesh color! We sort of camouflage into it and she trips over feet and legs all the time simply for lack of seeing them. So I think she's a tad bit more accident-prone than your typical early walker.

The other day I left the front door open for more light. There's a glass door there so it's ok to leave it open. Chloe is obsessed with closing doors, though. She always wants the doors shut and even shuts the baby gate if it's left open.* She went to shut the door but I think she leaned over some shoes that were on the floor and misjudged the distance to the door. When she missed the door she fell forward and all the way down (forehead first) into the wrought iron bars at the bottom of the entryway table. She got a huge egg on her forehead with a red line in the center. I thought she cracked her head open! This was two hours before Dave left for Colorado and I was pretty scared. I wanted to go to the hospital. Solana dragged Dave out of the shower to come look at Chloe as I tried to wrestle ice on her forehead. We held ice there for several minutes and she seemed just fine. The ice must have helped a lot because you couldn't even see the bump by the next morning.

Chloe's speech development took a little haiatus when she started walking. In fact, I felt like she back peddled a little bit. But she's suddenly picking up again. She currently has three favorite words. Hair, Hi, and Up.

She'll pick up a baby brush, Solana's brush, a comb, any hair tool she can find, and walk around saying "hair" and brushing her lovely locks. She'll make sure to walk up to us and say "hair" several times while doing it, too. "Yes, Chloe. You're combing your hair. How nice. Hair. Your hair is so pretty." Brings a smile to my face just thinking about it. She'll also point out my hair ever time I pick her up and sometimes give me a new coiffure, as well.

Her other favorite word right now is "hi!" This is not new. She loves saying "hi" to people and will say it over and over again. I think she loves that she always gets a response. The new thing is that now she says it with emphasis. I imagine she says it like two thirty-something girlfriends who haven't seen eachother for months meeting for lunch. "Hiiiii How are you DO-ing?" She seems to get more expressive and high pitched every day. Love.

She also learned the word Up and asks to be picked up (usually so she can go over the baby gate). The gate sort of loses its convenience factor but the fact that she's learning words is more important. And I love doing something for her when she asks.

Body parts she'll point to: head, arm, leg, foot, shoe, tummy, nose, eye, glasses

Chloe will also say: "Up" (sounds like, "Uh" when she wants to be picked up), Please (sign language) when she wants something, Thank You (sign and verbal - sounds like "da doo") when receiving something and prompted.

And the most exciting was with her Vision Therapist this morning. The therapist brought some books. They are baby board books. They have one object per page and many of them have high contrast backgrounds. They're great for kids with visual impairments. The single objects make it easy to find the object to focus on and the high contrast background makes it easier to see. Anyway, she would open the book showing Chloe two pages and ask Chloe to point at the _______. Chloe got several of them right! Car. Baby. Cat. Dog. Ball. Shoes. There were two pictures to choose from each time (one on each page) and she pointed to the correct picture each time! She actually touched or tapped on the correct picture! We look at similar books together all the time and I'm constantly verbally labeling objects, pictures, etc. It's like she's actually absorbing some of it. So cool!

Wow. I've just written a novel. It's very excited to see these new changes!

*Sometimes I set Chloe down in the living room to play while I cook. The kitchen is adjacent to the living room and separated by a baby gated open doorway. So I can hear her playing. If Solana comes out of the bedroom area and leaves that gate open Chloe will go through the open gate to the bedrooms shutting the gate behind her. More than once have I peeked out of the kitchen because Chloe's being too 'quiet' only to find a missing baby and a closed gate. "How did she get out?" It took me a few minutes the first time to figure that one out...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Texas! Part 2

On our fourth day in Texas Leticia and Jeremy's three kids were baptised. It was a lovely ceremony. The kids did great.

From Left to Right: Velma and Roy Rodriguez (family friends and Godparents to the three kids), The Holbergs: Graham (3), Jeremy, Mia (6), Leticia, Ross (4 months)

My Grandmother (my Mom's Mom) and Aunts (my Mom's sisters) drove in from San Antonio for the ceremony. Solana hasn't seen any of my family in years so it was like meeting them for the first time. Someone made the mistake of telling Solana she was a good hugger. They were all recipients of rib cracking hugs from Solana after that. :) Solana is also a very savvy hugger. All my Aunts showed up with gifts for the girls. She knows who to hug up to!

I was pretty excited for Mom (aka Mamo Bea...aka Beatrice Rodriguez...aka Bea Rodriguez) to finally meet Chloe since Chloe got her middle name, Bea, from her. And if I'm not mistaken, Chloe is the only grand or great grandchild to have her name.

Aunt Hilda, My Mom, "Mom" (that's what we call her), Aunt Linda

Aunt Laura and Uncle Robert

Aunt Yoli and Aunt Linda gushing appropriately over Chloe

We also took the opportunity to all take pictures with Mom and our kids.

My mom (Lydia), Mom, my sister, Leticia, Ross, Mia, and Graham

My Mom, Mom, Me, Solana, and Chloe Bea. Interesting note: Mom is the oldest of her siblings. My mom is also the oldest. I am the oldest. Solana is the oldest. Four generations of oldest children and all girls!

My mom, Mom, my sister, Valerie, and Grant

We had a blast after the baptism at Leticia's house. They ordered Papasitos fajitas and tortillas. My mom made a pot of charro beans, Leticia made spanish rice and chips & queso. Yum! It was fun visiting with family and everyone helped keep an eye on Chloe. Everyone was just amazed at her high velocity crawling!

The rest of the week was pretty low key. We hung out at either my parent's house or Leticia's house. I ventured out for dinner with my best friend from high school and had to leave Chloe in tears. I think she was feeling pretty overwhelmed being away from home and away from Dave. She was not interested in being left by me. By the end of the week I couldn't even leave her sight without tears. We still managed to have fun sometimes, though. Here she is cracking up at JD, the dog.

Solana got to spend the night with Mia. They had a champagne bubble bath in the morning (really OJ). Leticia goes all out for parties! Here they are modeling their princess nightgowns.

Leticia and me. Love my sister!

Here's a picture of my Mom and ALL her grandkids! The first time they've all been together! Amazing!

Me, Leticia, and Valerie. Sisters :-) We took this picture right before Valerie headed back to Georgia.

Our Texas trip was great. Lots of quality family time. Unfortunately, there was also lots of trauma to Chloe's sense of security. It made me think that Dave and I wouldn't be going on too many dates in Mexico...But it was all good. Everything changed the moment we stepped out of the Cancun airport and saw our hero standing there waiting for us...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moment of Personal Weakness

We went out to dinner Friday night and I said/thought/felt something that I regret. We were seated right next to a big table of about 10. It looked like two sets of grandparents, parents, and children. Among the children were two little girls - identical twins that looked to be about the same age as Chloe. The mother was seated in between the two high chairs.

My first thought, "Oh great. Here we go." And then one of the twins started screeching and throwing a little tantrum in her seat. The mom, who looked like she just left an important business meeting, was at a complete loss for what to do. For a moment, I wondered if it was perhaps, an aunt...? Then the other twin got in on the action and they sort of took turns making dinner as unpleasant as possible for the mom.

Did I feel sympathy for her. Nope. I felt evilly satisfied. I sort of enjoyed her misery. At one point I noticed Dave look over at them and I thought I saw a look of longing cross his face. I snidely remarked, "It's easier being around twins when they're being totally bratty."

He smiled politely but did not comment. I have no idea what he thought of my comment but I know what he should have thought. It kind of sucks to get caught being ugly. I know that was me protecting myself. But perhaps I can take care of myself other ways than being mean to others who have what I lost. After all, I graduated elementary school years ago...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Refrigerator Mishap

We have a second refrigerator in the garage. It's home to extra food -- the stuff we buy multiples at each shopping trip and move to our kitchen fridge as needed: gallons of milk, containers of yogurt, and eggs. We also keep sodas (that I no longer drink and are probably stale), cases of Horizon chocolate and strawberry milk (Solana's treats), and juice boxes. Most recently, it began duty as Dave's beer fridge. I'm talking about the beer that Dave painstakingly makes...

It's great to have a garage fridge. The only problem is that the door doesn't close all the way on its own. You have to actually press it at the very end to make sure it seals. Otherwise, it could stay open by an inch or two without anyone knowing it. And Solana has been busted several times leaving the door just a little open. Can you guess where this is going?

Yep. Yesterday morning I asked Solana to get a carton of Chloe's full fat plain Greek yogurt (great mixed with fruit purees) for me. I always ask, "did you close the refrigerator?" Sometimes she says, "yes," and sometimes, "let me just go double-check." There was a breakdown somewhere in my great system yesterday morning which led to Dave saying, "Solana's not allowed in the garage fridge anymore." He said this at 8:30pm.

12 hours. That's about how long the fridge was open before he discovered it. All of his beer was totally warm. Big oops. I felt super bad since I was the one who'd sent her out there. We suspect it might all be bad but hope not.

I suppose it could be worse. The hefeweizen wasn't out there yet... ;-)

Eye Exam Under Anesthesia

Chloe was just taken back for another eye exam under anesthesia. This is routine. Because she's had a cataract removed she's at risk for glaucoma. The doctor will check the pressures in her eye and also take measurements and check her vision RX. I asked him to also check for cataract and look at her retina. He said he'd do that.

Chloe is still preferring to use her left (bad) eye. She'll turn her head to look at things with just that eye and this doesn't make any sense since she can't see out of that eye as well. In fact, she still does it even without correction on her left eye. Without a lens in her left eye and without correction she shouldn't be able to see much at all. We're hoping that he comes back with a good report on her right (good) eye, too. I don't want him to give us any reason (ie. new diagnosis) for her preferring her left eye.

One thing I forgot to document was Chloe's recent diagnosis of latent strabismus. I became nervous a couple of months ago after noticing her left eye preference. I stuck a patch over her left eye just to make sure her right eye was working. When I did that, I noticed her eye twitching back and forth. I'd never noticed this before and it really scared me. We went to the doctor and he said this is a result of all the patching we've been doing. We've covered that right eye up so much (while trying to strengthen her left [cataract] eye) that we created this condition. It won't go away but, fortunately, it won't get any worse. And it only appears when her left eye is covered up. This may be an issue when it comes time for Chloe to get her driver's license and they ask her to cover up one eye at a time but we'll not worry about that right now.

1. No glaucoma! Whew!
2. No cataract! Whew!
3. Retina looks fine! Whew!
4. Left eye measurement changed. She's gone from 18 to 15. This means a change in her RX for the better.
5. Right eye measurement changed dramatically. She went from a 2 to a 9! She's much more near-sighted than before! I'm a 6.75 and I pretty much can't see anything without my glasses. This explains why she's been preferring her left eye. We haven't been correcting her right eye enough. It's a good thing we checked!

Chloe will now wear contacts in both eyes. They'll be ordered today. This. ought. to. be. interesting. I've never had to manage two contacts on Chloe before. And the fact that she popped out and lost two contacts within the past week makes me slightly nervous. I'll be making a visit to the optical shop and make sure they really check the fit on those lenses.

All in all I would call this a good report. I hate to see her becoming so dramatically near-sighted so quickly and was hoping to maintain better vision in that right eye but it is correctable. Let's just hope it stays that way.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cyndi's Banana Bread Hefeweizen mit Schokolade

When I lived in Germany I tried a Bananaweizen and loved it. It was basically a Hefeweizen with banana syrup added when they poured it. It was so good! Perfect at the biergarten during the summertime. Dave recently asked Solana and me what kind of beer he should make next. She said he should make a banana and chocolate beer. He took that, along with my old German favorite, and came up with his own version of this beer and named it after me. I love it!

It's basically a hefeweizen and he added banana and chocolate flavoring at bottling. The flavors are subtle yet distinct. It's wonderful and refreshing - my new favorite!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pajamas That Fit

I accidentally put some of Chloe's pajamas in Solana's drawer. She came out of her room tonight super excited and asked if I bought her new pajamas. I felt so bad but told her that they're Chloe's 12-18 month size pajamas. She insisted that they would fit and I laughed hysterically while arguing with her. I was laughing so hard, in fact, that I couldn't muster up the strength to stop her as she put them on. My laughter increased with each limb that entered the pajamas.

"They fit Mommy. Look! They fit PERFECTLY!"

"Ummm. No. No they don't. Hahahaha!"

"Yes! They really fit. Can't you see that they fit? (giggle giggle)"

"Hahahaha! No Mija. They really don't."


"Hahahahaha! I'm getting my camera. This is totally going on the blog! Hahahaha!"

Texas! Part 1

On June 19th the girls and I flew to Texas. We were very excited to spend the upcoming week with my parents, sisters, neice, and nephews.

Here we are in the elevator at the airport. Funny story about the cowgirl hat… We bought it for Solana’s birthday because her cousin, Mia, has the exact same hat. We lugged that thing through 6 flights between Ohio, Texas, and Mexico. Sure she wore the hat through the airport and got tons of compliments on it. Everyone noticed the pink cowboy hat! But did she ever have a single occasion to wear the hat in Texas OR in Mexico? Nope. We basically brought it along so she could look cute in the airport. Lesson learned.

It had been three and a half years since we were in Texas. A lot has happened since then that prevented us from traveling so it was a pretty big deal to be back. And previous visits were fairly short since I was working. A whole week was downright luxurious!

The first thing I do after getting off the plane in Houston (and my family knows and plans for this) is hit a Whataburger drive-thru. For those of you who aren’t from Texas or haven’t lived in or visited Texas you don’t know what you’re missing. And that’s a good thing because you’d be pretty sore if you did! Three and a half years is too long to wait for a Whataburger with cheese and jalapenos! What a treat!

Check out the look on my face! It didn't last!

If you know anything about my eating habits you may be surprised to see me eating a big ‘ol burger, fries, and Dr. Pepper. While I allow a splurge here and there I’m somewhat of a food snob these days and usually turn my nose up at processed food, fast food, and especially feed lot meat. And I completely gave up soft drinks in November. Well, guess who else was surprised…MY STOMACH!! Ouchie! I suffered one of the most painful stomach aches in my life after this meal. I’m talking the kind that folds you over and doesn’t let you up for air. Yowza! But did you see me eating another Whataburger two weeks later after returning from Mexico? Umm yes. I couldn’t help it! They’re sooo good! LOL!

The other treat we enjoy when in Texas is Blue Bell Ice Cream. It's made in Brenham, Texas, and is utterly divine! Get it? Utterly? Hehe. Solana hadn’t ever had Blue Bell Ice Cream so I served her a bowl of my favorite, Cookies N Cream. She gave it a thumbs-up and was excited to eat the ice cream that (as my dad said) was named after our dog, Bluebell.

Here's Chloe checking out her new bed for the week. I love this nightgown. My Mom gave it to her at Christmastime but it was too cold. It was perfect for Houston!

We spent most of our time for the first couple of days just hanging out at my parent’s house. My sister, Leticia, lives 40 minutes away and came over with her kids, Mia, Graham, and Ross. It was fun to finally meet Ross for the first time. He’s 5 months old and such a cutie! My sister, Valerie, lives in Georgia. She and her baby, Grant, arrived the next day to join the party.

Chloe and Grant having a crawling race.

He just turned a year old on July 3rd. She'll be two next month!

The three babies. Ross is in the background so he looks kind of small. Funny thing we noticed. They're all in size 3 diapers! Guess who's a big boy!

Chloe and Grant "sharing."

Chloe and Ross "sharing."

Me with Graham. He is adorable - like a little boy version of Solana. If I ever had a little boy I would want him to be just like Graham. He followed Chloe around and demonstrated walking for her so she could learn. He'd say, "Look T-WO-EY. This is how you walk." And then he'd walk down the hall and back very serious-like. He also tried holding her hand while she walked but she wasn't interested.

Solana and Mia love to dress alike and Leticia and my mom often buy them matching outfits. My mom went one step further this visit and bought their dolls matching outfits. I'm not super keen on the whole dress like your doll phenomenon. Maybe if my mom is the one to continue buying the matching outfits...?

On about our third day in Houston we headed over to my parents' neighborhood pool. Chloe was a speed demon in the kiddie pool area! She really wanted to take off without me but I just wouldn't let her. Mean Mommy! Mean Mommy!

I made up for it. Fun Mommy. Yay!

My sweet little baby.

Solana took off to play in the area for "bigger kids" and I had my hands full with Chloe so I didn't get too many pictures of her at the pool. But she WAS there. Really.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Annoying Accounting

I used to work in Accounting for the University of Denver. I was in the Controller's Office. I loved it! It's the perfect field for me. And the people were amazing so that helped, too. Today I find myself hating accounting. Here's the latest (and hopefully last) email I've sent to Chloe's oxygen company. (Note: She's been off oxygen since the very beginning of March. I've been after them to fix her account ever since then. I've made a ridiculous number of phone calls and sent more emails than I'd like. My sister and I recently spent about two hours downloading, printing, scanning, and emailing EOB's from my insurance company to them.)
I’ve attached 15 documents. The first is the Excel summary of all the Anthem EOB’s, to include Member Responsibility amounts, and Payments. The bottom of the spreadsheet summarizes how much we owed, paid, received as reimbursement (for erroneous charges), and still owe. You have all of the Anthem EOB’s to verify the data in this spreadsheet (note: the Anthem data on the spreadsheet was downloaded straight from Anthem’s website). After going through my previous emails I found one missing EOB (1/18/10 for $987) and it is included in the second attachment. My daughter was released from the NICU on 1/18/10 and discontinued oxygen use on 3/2/11 (they picked up the equipment shortly thereafter so our last invoice date is 3/8/11). Again, you should have them all.
The remainder of the attachments includes copies of my credit card statements to verify every single payment listed under the Member Payment column.
By looking at the information from the EOB’s and my credit card statements it’s very clear how I come up with my bottom line. I think I’ve done more than adequate work to help Apria fix its accounting problems. I hope you can be the one to finally fix this account. I have better things to do than work on this – like chase after my oxygen-free toddler.
Cynthia Hendrickson
Maybe now I can get to fun stuff on the computer - like my blog!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Back From Vacation!!

The girls and I just spent two weeks away from home!!! It was wonderful but felt like an eternity! We spent a whole week with my parents, sisters, niece, and nephews in Houston. Then my parents flew with us to Cancun, where Dave met us at the airport. We spent 7 luxurious days and nights at our favorite vacation spot, Aventura Cove Palace Resort. I have tons of pictures and stories to write about our vacation but for now just wanted to say, "We're HOME!"

Solana and I celebrated by running out to the vegetable garden to see how it fared. Thanks to Dave, who set up a sprinkler and timer, we were welcomed by huge healthy plants and even some harvesting opportunities. We plucked our first sugar snap peas and only about half of them made it inside (they were sooo good we couldn't help but eating them off the vine) and a great big bowl full of lettuce. Solana will be preparing a special salad today.

Chloe celebrated by rocking giggle-fest 2011 with the dogs and then walking around the family room for about two hours straight. She refused to stop and was getting so sweaty that I had to tie her hair up to try and get it off her neck. It was so crazy! She walked a bit in Texas and Mexico but only under close supervision. She obviously felt really comfortable in her own house and just took off. It was so cool!

Today we have no plans at all. I have TONS of laundry to do and vacuuming. Hopefully, I'll have time for blogging this week because I have many memories to capture!