Thursday, July 31, 2014

Her Room With a View...

Eight months ago, this little angel arrived a whole month early and took our breath away.  She was beautiful from day one...
...and eight months later, that hasn't changed.
Here are some fun facts about Hope this month as you scroll through the 432 photos of her (I can't help myself)...
She crawls on all fours now!  And she's getting FAST!
She seems just as interested in books as both of her brothers.
She has a great personality.  She can strike a serious pose...
...she's curious and observant...
...and happy!!
One thing that hasn't changed?  Her love for her big brother.  He just dotes on her and she loves all the attention he smothers her with!
Brian has been "play acting" a lot lately.  For the last two days he has gone by the name, "Chartoil."  Chartoil is a lifeguard who keeps his sister safe and all day asks "Is everything alright in here?  Do you need any help?"  I give him all kinds of jobs.  Chartoil is a great helper.  He even helped me bathe Hope.
When I asked him to smile for the picture he replied, 
"No thank you.  I'm at work."
Hope woke up on her eight month "birthday" to a big surprise!
A NEW ROOM!!  With Brian's permission (he loved the idea, actually) - we moved Hope's nursery into his old room.  And Hope's old nursery is now the guest room with Brian's furniture and nautical theme.  I love that Hope is now in a room that was Gavin's baby nursery - and Brian's "big boy room" once he moved out of his nursery.  And I also love that both rooms have paint colors that work with the existing decor.  Thank God.  

Here's a little tour of her new room.  I still have to find spots for her shelves, but you'll get the idea...
If you look down outside her window, you have a great view of Gavin's memorial garden.
In this room, her book display fits!
I love that we have a book display in every room.  Showing the covers makes it much more inviting.  Hope has already spent a lot of time sitting (and standing!) in front of her books!
The "Jellybean Tree" print was purchased at duPont Hospital's gift shop!  They have the cutest things there.  I was in that hospital so much with Gavin when he was a baby and I was pregnant with Brian - that Brian's nursery was almost completely decorated with items from this gift shop!
I also love that I can fit the photos of Mommy and Daddy in her room now.

As promised, here is what the new "Brian and Gavin's" room looks like...

There's only so much we can do as far as rearranging.  The bed is so big and can only fit on one side of the room or the other.  So we moved it across the room.  But to Brian - little changes are BIG fun!
There were certain things that he requested to keep the same.  Gavin's name had to stay on the wall...
Gavin's picture (which was sent to us by a reader very early on after his death!) stays on the shelf.  The butterflies that Brian colored at the hospital - and then whispered a wish into them. He then whispered the same wishes into Gavin's ear as he said goodbye to him - so these butterflies hold sacred secrets between brothers.  And a photo from our trip to Disney World after Gavin died will stay, too.  Gavin's favorite show was "The Little Einsteins" and we got to meet "June" from the show.  We took a picture of her holding Gavin's embroidered mouse ears.  Brian loves that picture so much.
The "Invisible String" and heart that he made in the hospital still hangs on the closet door.  We pull that string and say goodnight to Gavin as a family every night.  And that is Gavin's "His Royal Highness" pillow that has hung in his room since before he was born.
Brian still sleeps in Gavin's special needs bed.  His pillowcase is one of two that we have that were Gavin's over the four days he spent in the hospital before he died.  And Brian sleeps under those three blankets - all of which kept Gavin warm from April 10th until he died on April 14th, 2013.
And Brian wanted to keep Gavin's clock, which says "Once Upon A Time" around the edges.
The newest addition is the Lego table (and all the Angry Bird stuffed toys!!)).  Brian and I spend a lot of time at this Lego table - it's covered with our creations.  I am pretty confident that Gavin loves how his room is being used...and appreciated.

Here's an update on Hope's eczema journey!  It is actually going to be much easier than I expected, I think.  I ended up eliminating all of the food I was giving her (which was not a lot) for two days.  On those two days I just did the back massage only.  She is so good for this - and sometimes it actually puts her to sleep!  Then I spent two days with banana in a glass jar against her skin while I did the back massage.  On the third day, I re-introduced banana.  Then I moved on and put avocado in a jar - massaged her back for two days while exposing her to that - and then re-introduced it.  This is what I plan to do with everything - the foods I have already given her... and all future foods before she takes her first bite.

Her skin looks dramatically different.  The very few patches she has left are small and smooth.

BEFORE:
AFTER:
BEFORE:
AFTER:
Her back before was pretty bad (I don't have a photo) - but now it's as smooth as can be.
The real proof will be over time.... in different temperatures, eating different foods, etc.  I'll keep you posted!

Tomorrow is Brian's very last swim class at Cabrini College.  I wasn't able to get a great video of him jumping in the pool today - so hopefully I will tomorrow!  Ed will be there for his 'graduation' so I'll be able to focus on capturing the action a little better.  
Here's a great video of him "swimming" on his back with his sweet instructor, Katie.  I understand why they call the course "Swim Fast" - he has gotten so fast going across the pool by himself!!
We're so proud of him.  But more importantly, he's so proud of himself!!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

That Time That The Readers Saved The Day...

So, Monday morning I woke up feeling inspired.

"Today," I proclaimed in the mirror, "I'm going to get stuff done."

I was going to take Brian to Science Camp... I was going to run errands... I was going to rearrange... and I was going to get Brian to swimming - and not just get him there, I was going to be early.

The first thing on the list after breakfast was to rearrange the room that Brian sleeps in.  (That will be revealed tomorrow!)  Brian wanted a change - I think he was inspired by the playroom redo!  He's still sleeping in Gavin's room and does NOT want to leave.  But he also doesn't want to change too much of it.  We had a long talk about Gavin's room... and his room across the hall... and how we don't know what to call either room anymore.  Brian decided that Gavin's room should be called the "Brian-Gavin Room."  And so it will be.  I'll write more details about the room decisions tomorrow.

So there we were - moving furniture and laughing away in the "Brian-Gavin Room" when I realized it was 11am.  We had to get going to Science Camp!  I got both kids ready and buckled into their carseats when I felt like I forgot something.  I ran inside and stood in the kitchen for a moment and even said out loud, "What did I forget?"  I landed on nothing - but before I went back outside, something made me look at the calendar.  There it was... in pen:

Monday:  Science Camp 10:30am.

Science Camp was over. 

So back out to the car I went - unbuckled both kids - and hung my head.  I told Brian the truth and apologized to him and he sweetly said, "That's ok, Mom.  I forgive you!  It was a mistake, right?"

I felt awful.

So I took to my Facebook page and turned to my readers.  I thought they could help me come up with some simple Science experiments we could do together that day.  Sure, I could have googled it myself... but I knew it would turn into a handy reference list that I (and many of my readers!) could go back to for new ideas!

Boy, did they save the day.  I have over 350 comments with so many different experiments!  We chose two to do that afternoon.  The first was making "Tie Dye Milk" with whole milk, food coloring and Dawn dish soap.  It was pretty hilarious.  If it looks like Brian has a bit of OCD in this video, I can assure you - he doesn't.  But he is a little bit like his Mommy in that he doesn't care to get messy.  Not the worst trait in the world.  Ha!  And I think you'll enjoy Hope stealing the show in the background.  Oh, and the experiment is cool, too...  

...and take two...

Next we did a "Dancing Raisins" experiment.  You pour Ginger Ale (or any clear soda, I suppose) in a glass container - and then you drop some raisins in. 
 The bubbles catch under the raisins and lift them up - and then they drop back down - and so on and so on.  Take a look...

It turned into a fun afternoon.  Until we were late for swimming.

But then I woke up Tuesday morning and proclaimed, "Today I'm going to get stuff done - and get to swimming early!"

We started off the morning at the movies!!  Our local "Movie Tavern" has "Flapjacks and Flicks" every Tuesday and Wednesday in the Summer.  The movie playing was "Turbo."  Brian was a little bummed because he wanted to see Disney's "Planes: Fire and Rescue."  When we got to the theater to buy the tickets we were told that, due to an error, "Turbo" wouldn't be showing.  BUT... for the same $5.00 price, would we mind seeing "Planes: Fire and Rescue" instead?

SCORE!!

It always takes a couple minutes for Brian to get used to the loud volume.  (Quite frankly - it takes me longer!)  The movie was adorable and we had a great time.  Hope was great and ended up falling asleep about twenty minutes after the movie started and woke up when the credits were rolling!
When we got home, Brian and I sat and played Legos in the "Brian-Gavin" room while Hope played happily in Gavin's bed!  I zipped her in with some toys and she was thrilled.  Then Brian wanted me to read his book, "I Love You, Stinky Face!" to her.  The safe bed would come in handy later in the day as we worked on a secret project for Hope.  (You'll see!  All will be revealed tomorrow...)
Tuesday redeemed Monday.  I was even early for Brian's swim class!  This week the instructor lifts him up in the air and drops him into the water.  He has to get his way to the top... turn himself around... and float on his back.  I'm hoping to capture a video of him during class so I never forget this, but so far the lighting has been too dark. The first time he went under it felt like a year until he came back up - and then, through the glass, I could see him struggling and could tell he was yelling out.  The instructor was right there next to him - but they really are hard core and try not to intervene unless they absolutely have to.  Eventually Brian did get himself turned around and on his back.  And then the next time he did it - he was a little better.  I thought for sure he was going to come out of the pool upset with himself for struggling - and saying he didn't like what happened.

I was wrong.

He came out of the pool confident.  "Did you see me, Mom?  Wasn't I awesome?"
"Yes,"  I answered.  "You were so brave."

Hey!  I joined Instagram!  Well, technically, I "re-joined" Instagram.  Yesterday I went to sign up - only to realize I already had.  A long time ago.  Whoopsie!  I even chose a name:  Kategavinsmom

Here was my fist picture on Instagram:

My niece convinced me to do Instagram...so I went here to sign up only to realize I've had a profile here for some time and forgot. Story of my life. Since I chose the username "KateGavinsMom" I figured my first Instagram photo should be in honor of him. Also the story of my life. Almost everything I do is in honor of Gavin.




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mr. Lucky...

It's Sunday, so you know what THAT means!!!

It means I'm about to unleash an obnoxious amount of photos for your viewing pleasure!!  As a matter of fact, I'm so nice that I'll skip a lot of boring words tonight and show mostly pictures.  You're welcome.

Here is the picture story of our exciting weekend:

I rearranged the playroom!  Woo Hoo!  I should have posted the "before" but I'm not that clever these days.  Here's a tour of the "after."  Use your imagination - and please pretend the "before" was AWFUL so this "after" will then look AHHHmazing.  Thanks.

Hope has her own fenced in area (mainly to make sure she doesn't swallow a lego - my biggest fear).  We're calling it "Romper Room."  The gates are "Friendly Toys Little Playzone" and I got them on Amazon, before you ask.
Here's Hope checking it out:
Brian loved the new room and the special corners.  Like the secret book corner...
...and his toy area.
Friday night was Brian's swim lesson.  He made major improvements in just a week.  He was able to float/swim on his back the entire length of the pool by himself.  My niece, Julia, came to watch and visit with us!  She will soon be leaving for a semester in Peru with Tulane!  I'm telling you - one day you're going to read about this young woman.  She's out to change the world.
After the swim lesson, we sat outside and talked while Brian climbed a tree next to us!
Saturday afternoon we went to the Kimberton Fair (a yearly fair near our home to raise money for the local Fire Department).  Brian had SO much fun!  Ed and I did, too.  And I was in Heaven.  Two words:  Funnel Cake.

Brian and I had a blast on the swings!
So much so, we rode them twice!
We rode the merry go round together!
Brian and Ed conquered the giant slide!
Brian conquered the rope ladder and made it SO close to the top every time, but never could touch the red button to win a GIANT (GIGANTIC - and dirty) stuffed animal.  I was so sad (not).
But make no mistake.  Mr. Lucky still managed to come home with gems like this huge blow up hammer with money printed all over it...
...along with six other stuffed animals and a real goldfish.
At this point we have two choices.  We can start our own carnival.  We have enough dirty stuffed animals and crappy plastic toys to give out as prizes for a year.  OR we can move to a bigger house so we have room for all this junk.

A good time was had by all... and Brian named his new fish "Cutie Pie."

We also celebrated Hope's 34th Saturday with us!!  Thank you to Granny for this adorable and pretty dress.  Hope is such a happy girl and her personality is showing more and more every day.  Lately she loves the attention she gets when she SHRIEKS!  Here are this weeks photos...

And finally, here is your tip of the day.

If your baby goes a day without going "number 2" and the next day you plan to be out for several hours not that close to home... don't forget to check your diaper bag to make sure you have your "emergency outfit" in there.  Wait - what I mean is check for the "emergency outfit" for the baby.  Wait - what I mean is check for the "emergency outfit" for the baby... and an "emergency outfit" for your husband... and a SECOND "emergency outfit" for the baby after the first "emergency outfit" becomes useless... and don't forget to have trash bags and extra wipes and maybe even a bag to vomit in all in your trunk.  And then make sure you bring new pants for you because you'll find yourself peeing the pants you're wearing because you're laughing so hard as you're rummaging (twice) through a bag in your trunk that was intended for Goodwill (thank God it was there) and you end up putting this crazy "Tinkerbell-looking" outfit on your baby in a parking lot. 

So the tip of the day is this:  if your baby goes a day without pooping, STAY HOME until he/she does.  No charge for the tip - it's on me.  (No, literally - it really was on me.  And Ed.  And the carseat.  And the trunk.)

But a good time was had by all in the bathtub once we got home...
...and all was forgiven.
The end!


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