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Monday, January 18, 2010

where to start?!

Wow, it's been so long since I've blogged and there is so much to catch up on that I don't even know where to start!! Christmas was WONDERFUL as usual :) My parents came to visit for a few days before Christmas and it was so fun to just spend some lazy time with them, enjoying their company. The kids absolutely love it when they get to be with Grammy and Pop Pop! By the time Christmas rolled around, Emma once again believed in Santa Claus and she was up all night Christmas Eve because she swore that she heard the footsteps from his big boots :) Madeline got a gold sparkly purse filled with lipstick and nailpolish and a month later it is still her prized possession...she carries it around from the time she wakes up until she goes to bed at night. Claire did not get as many presents as the other girls, simply because she is still little and I didn't think she would notice...WRONG!!! She was a freak about opening presents this year and opened everyone else's once she ran out of gifts. oops! Emma and Madeline both got Nintendo DS's and Claire was so jealous screaming "mine" and trying to snatch them. Looks like next year we may have to start buying three of everything ;) We had a quiet morning at home with just our family and then Ryan's parents and Rach came over for the rest of the day. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work...I am starting to realize that being a mom/hostess means that I pretty much don't do anything on Christmas now but hang out in the kitchen preparing one meal and then the next. As I was in the kitchen at midnight on christmas eve cooking, I was thinking how much I would rather be the kid in bed trying to sleep while anxiously awaiting christmas morning and not the mom slaving away. Darn!

Our trip to NJ was fabulous! Once again, the kids were way better in the car than I would expect a 1, 3 and 5 year old to be for that many hours. We had so much fun exploring the country and I loved the endless hours of enjoying Ryan's company in the front seat. Pretty much, I'm ready to do it again :) On the way up, we stayed in Asheville for a few days and enjoyed the cold weather and a beautiful city! We felt right at home in Medford....I think I had a play date almost every day we were there and I LOVE catching up with old friends. I finally got to meet Jodi (who I hope will be my new sister in law soon?!) and we hit it off right away. I'm looking forward to spending more time with her and Nate when they come to visit this week!

Claire, of course has had a lot going on lately. I finally decided that enough was enough and I wanted the doctor to look further into why she's not walking. Last week was crazy busy with doctors appointments and lots of bloodwork (12 vials!) and a physical therapy evaluation. The outcome so far is that Claire has "hypotonia" a low muscle tone condition. There is usually a long wait to get an appointment with a pediatric neurologist...the first doctor I called had a five month wait. The second doctor I called had just had a cancellation and asked if I could come in the next day...A HUGE BLESSING! I could not imagine waiting five more months to find out why she's not walking!! The minute the neurologist touched Claire, she told me flat out that she has low muscle tone and that's why she can't walk. Bascially, hypotonia is a symptom of another problem...anything from cerebral palsy to a thyroid problem to a genetic disorder and the list goes on. Claire has an MRI next monday to see if there are any abnormalities in her brain and then we wait on the bloodwork to see what the cause is. The neurologist was very hopeful that the problem would be something treatable because in all other areas of development, Claire is doing great. In her evaluation, she was off the charts for cognitive, speech and fine motor skills. I had to go buy her the UGLIEST! high top walking shoes that I have ever seen (this is payback for how neurotic I am about my kids' wardrobes, I'm sure) and she's shown so much improvement since then....even standing on her own for short periods of time. Within the next week or two, we should be hearing back from Early Steps and getting her PT started and get her fitted for her leg braces (!). I am anxious to get her in them and see how she progresses and to see what she looks like in them :) So far, I have so much peace about the whole situation. I do not think that it is a surprise to God that Claire has this condition. I also do not think that it is a coincidence that she was my only baby that was conceived naturally and was a surprise (shock!) to us. I know that God has a plan for Claire and that she will have an amazing story to tell one day because of it. I believe that she will develop great character from this and I pray that it would build a sweet, caring, compassionate spirit in her. I pray the same for her sisters....that growing up with a little sister that they love so much who is different from other kids will give them a heart that is softened towards other people and that they would know first hand that what's on the outside isn't all that counts. So, leg braces and ugly (hideously ugly!) shoes aside, although I would never desire this for my baby, I am in a way thankful for the good that I know will come from it. God has a plan and His plan is always perfect :)


The Neal Family said...

You are an amazing mommy and a real inspiration. Everyone should be so lucky to have someone like you in their lives.

ourbabymakesfour said...

touching post ali!

Sweet Treats and Baby Feet said...

I love the words that you wrote about your sweet Claire! I am excited to see God's plan unfold for her, too:)

Laura Koslowsky said...

Hi Ali,
This is Laura (Ingalls) Koslowsky. I sort of stumbled upon your blog just before Christmas. You and Ryan have such a beautiful family. It is neat to see where God has brought you in the last 10 years. I really appreciated the things you shared about Claire in this post and I wanted to share with you that I have a close friend who also has a daughter with hypotonia. Abigail is now 7 years old and you wouldn't guess that she has a muscle tone issue at all. She was quite late to walk and needed PT for awhile but has come a really long way in a very short amount of time. I understand what you are saying about not wishing this for Claire, but being thankful for how God will use it in her life. We are adopting a baby boy from S. Korea and through the process felt God leading us to adopt a child with minor or correctable special needs. Our Samuel has a foot abnormality which I would never have chosen for him, but am thankful to be the one God has chosen to raise this precious little guy. If you are interested in following our adoption story, we have a blog too. Here is the link: http://godheard.wordpress.com/ We should hopefully be hearing news any day that we can travel to bring Samuel home.
Take care,