Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Very Merry New Year

Andrew, Ellie and I would like to wish all of you a very happy 2012!

The year of 2011 has been relatively kind to us.  Sure there have been some bumps in the grand journey of life, but we are so thankful that we are healthy and kicking and we are thankful for our wonderful, supportive, and loving friends and family.  I am thankful for all of you.  Many of whom I have gotten to know on Facebook, through your comments, and through your own blogs.

This has been a year of firsts and accomplishments.

Always a diva

On January 5th, 2011 Ellie took her very first step.  She started to fully walk in late February and she hasn't stopped since.  In fact, Bear practically went from crawling to running and climbing.  I am one tired Mama Bear.

Look at how little my wee little baby was.

Around the time the Ellie first started walking, we retested her for an oat allergy (Bear had an anaphylactic reaction to infant oatmeal at 6 months of age).  I spent the entire 3 hour visit clutching her EpiPen Jr. in fear that she would fail her Oat Tolerance Test.  Fortunately, she outgrew that horrific allergy and we were able to start oats and wheat!  Pancakes!  She can now have pancakes! Can you imagine how wonderful this past year has been where I do not need to go into full panic-hypervigilant-parent mode when I see another child with a Cheerio?

In May of 2011, Ellie was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder [SPD].   To say it was a shock is an understatement.  Andrew and I have learned a lot and we are working with her many therapists in helping Ellie cope with her motor cravings and oral seeking behaviors.  There are good days and there are bad days.

I don't know what they are talking about when they say she has "oral sensory issues".

We had a really spitty summer.  Literally.  Recall the infamous reflux.   The Chunky Chicken was a pro at projectile vomiting.  After a few months of poor weight gain, decreased appetite, various medications, and lots of laundry, we finally bit the bullet discovered through an upper endoscopy with 7 biopsies from her gastrointestinal tract nothing.  There was no official cause behind The Exorcist Child. Ellie grew 1.5 inches over night (okay, maybe in a month) and guess what?  The spit up went away (mostly).  She is now a tall little beanpole topping the Ds charts at the 90%tile for height.

After many years of wearing the same style of glasses, Ellie did me a huge favor and broke mine.  My ever-sexy husband decided dark-rimmed glasses would complete the "naughty librarian" look and hence, the new pair of glasses.

Also this past summer, Andrew and I went on a trip.  Without Ellie.  As in alone.  It was wonderful!  My mother came down from St. Louis and watched The Bear while I joined Andrew on his business trip in Vancouver, Canada.  Let me tell you, I was really close to up and moving to Canada.

Texas also got hit by a really big drought and several wildfires.  Labor Day weekend was a rather difficult time for those in Austin and in Bastrop.  I know of friends who were temporary displaced by raging fires and our great state of Texas is still recovering.  Yes, we have had rain the past few weeks, but we are still under a severe drought.

Andrew spent most of 2011 working.  He has the privilege of working from home which is just fabulous when I have something like a medical appointment.  However, the down fall is that he gets stuck working all. the. time.  He does really important coding and whatnot and he managed to set up our TV on linux.  Do not ask me what that all means, but basically every once in a while the TV needs an "upgrade" and scary computer code pops up on the screen.  This tends to happen when Ellie is pitching a fit about wanting to watch Signing Time! and Andrew is in the office.

This last month of 2011 has been positively delightful.  Andrew was able to take off most of December and we were able to enjoy the Holidays with most of our families.  

As of tomorrow, Andrew and I are embarking on a "life style modification".  Nope, it is not a diet.  It is a forever change.  Cross your fingers and wish us luck!

Happy New Year!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Charity: Forget Me Not Friday

Today's Forget-Me-Not-Friday post features a little girl dear to my heart:

It is with my great pleasure to announce that Charity has a forever family coming for her and, her future mama is a good cyber buddy of mine.  You can follow their journey here.

As always, donations towards rescuing these children on Reece's Rainbow are tax deductible so if you want to claim your donation on your 2011 taxes, you only have a few days left!

To learn more about Forget Me Not Friday's and these orphans, click here.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Notice A Theme

Matt & Ellie 
Christmas 2009

Matt & Ellie 
Christmas 2010

Uncle Matt & Ellie
Christmas 2011

"Oh Uncle Matt, you are so wonderful!"


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas In Texas

I love traditions. The different traditions that my family instilled while growing up are some of my fondest memories.  As a parent, I want to do the same for my daughter.  Creating new traditions while incorporating some of the ones from my youth have made this past Christmas thoroughly wonderful.  I do not know if Ellie, being at the young age of 2 years-old, will remember it, but I can only hope.

Andrew, Ellie, and I actually celebrated Christmas twice this year.  My parents came down from St. Louis, Missouri and my brother Matt visited from Madison, Wisconsin.  Imagine their shock of coming from a snowy climate to a whopping 70 degrees!

During our Christmas celebration we went to the mall.  Yes, the mall.  Was it crowded?  No.  Perhaps it was a sign of the floundering economy or perhaps it is because the one-stop shops such at Target and Walmart are stealing all of the business.  Anyway, the mall.  Our local mall is a fabulous place for children.  They have those rides that you pay a quarter (okay, actually 3 quarters) for.  They have a small indoor playscape.  Finally, there is a carousel with lights, music, and horses.  What a grand adventure it was to see Ellie with her Grandpa on the carousel!

Then of course there was nap time!  Followed by the baking of sugar cookies.  Ellie "helped" by cutting out the cookies, tasting the batter, and then using the spatula to destroy lift the dough.

Just before diving into our Christmas brisket--remember, this is Texas, we decorated the tree.  Growing up, my brother and I knew that the minute Manheim Steamroller's "Deck The Halls" echoed through the house that it was time to decorate the Christmas tree.  This year, we played Manheim Steamroller in honor of that past tradition.  There is something about unwrapping each ornament that triggers happy memories of Christmas' past.  The Chunky Chicken is a wild child so all of the ornaments were placed above The Bear's reach.  Oh yes, the bottom of the tree remained naked.

Our Christmas feast was absolutely delightful.  The brisket was melt-in-your-mouth, pull-apart delicious.  Ellie ate her weight in brisket.   I even whipped out the china and the cloth napkins for this occasion.

After Ellie was in bed, us adults settled down for Christmas Vacation.  It is a movie with Chevy Chase from the '80s that is so ridiculous that one cannot help but laugh.   Imagine my shock when I learned that Andrew had never seen the movie!  Andrew, the one who has seen every single movie known to mankind.  Oh the shock!  So I must admit I was pleased to introduce The Griswald Family Christmas to Andrew.

Here Grandpa, let me knock that down for you.

We had a lovely Christmas and now we must prepare for our "2nd" Christmas in Plano, TX.

This is how we were feeling by the end of the day!

Here's to hoping that you all had a wonderful, relaxing Merry Christmas.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from my family to yours.  May you have a safe, relaxing, and joyful Holiday.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sugar Cookie Adventure

There must be some innate ability to cut out sugar cookies because I certainly didn't teach Ellie how to do it.  It was our first ever cookie cutting adventure and Bear proved to be a pro.  You see, my mom and I had this bright idea that we would make sugar cookies with Ellie.  Just think of the sensory input from playing with the dough! We never quite got to the actual icing part, but we had a blast nonetheless.

Ellie knew exactly what to do.  She knew to taste the dough.  You know, to make sure it is good enough to serve the family.

What?  You didn't see anything.  Nope.  You didn't see me sampling the cookies.

She knew to taste it again and again just in case the first taste was faulty.

Make sure you thoroughly coat the tongue.

Chunky Chicken also knew how to use the cookie cutters.  She knew to mash those cutters down into the dough like nobody's business.

Finally, Toddler Bear attempted to wield a spatula like the little baking maestro that she is.

It was a fabulous 5 minutes in the Theurer kitchen and the cookies tasted delicious.

Roll-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

3/4 cups    Butter, softened
1 cup        Sugar
2               Eggs
1/2 tsp       Vanilla
2.5 cups    Flour
1 tsp          Baking Powder
1/2 tsp       Salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time and then add vanilla.  Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.

Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour or over night.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Flour surface and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into shapes :)
Place cookies on greased baking sheet 1 inch apart.

Bake ~6-8 minutes.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Pretend Play and Brisket

What do pretend play and brisket have to do with one another?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

Did somebody say 'brisket'?

Remember back I had a big, happy, excited, whoot-whoot party over Ellie pretending to be on the phone?  Well, my super little bear has done it again and expanded her repertoire of pretend play.  Take a nesting cup and turn it into a bowl.  Grab a spoon and pretend to stir and sip.

Now onto the brisket.  A true Texan Christmas involves BBQ.  Oh yes, BBQ.  Nothing says Christmas like firing up the smoker and tossing on 10 pounds of meat for our little family plus my brother and my parents.  The Bruns family is in town and we are celebrating our Christmas a little early.  That means last night Andrew prepared a huge slab of meat and trussed it up like a chicken/duck/turkey and threw it on the smoker.

I hope to write more about the festivities, but internet time is scarce.  After all, I am maximizing my time with my wonderful, loving, Midwest family.

Awa Grandma with Ellie


Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Mostly Silent Sunday: Puppy Kisses & Tutus

Well, mostly silent.  My family is visiting from the Gateway to the West aka St. Louis, Missouri.  I want to soak up all waking moments with them which means blogging is going on the back burner for the next week or so.  Until then, enjoy these photos of my favorite (and only!) daughter.

Going in for the big Smack-A-Roo


Contrary to popular belief, I do put shoes and socks on Ellie's tootsies.  However, my daughter is adamant about frolicking about with bare feet.  Do I get stares?  Oh yes!  Do I get the "where are your shoes little girl? It is cold out."? Definitely.  Eh, it is what it is. There are worse things in life than bare feet.

Hanging with the Sophie Dog.


A mask for kids with Down syndrome

Do you hear crickets?  Yes, we are here!  We are alive!  We are safe and healthy!  We haven't been inside a restaurant or store since m...