26 October 2009

Guess Who's Discovered Toilet Paper?

The other morning I got out of the shower to find the above. The Little Pumpkin was in the bathroom and bedroom by me while I showered and she discovered the joys of toilet paper. She was so happy with herself when I found her. She had this huge smile and then started giggling. As you can kind of tell from the picture, she shreds the stuff. I can't even re-roll what she has taken to use it later. Today I finally moved the roll to the counter. I came in later only to find it shred again-- this time by Orva, our grey cat. Good grief.

The other afternoon I was giving Sylvia her naptime bottle. (We are weaning her off from this one, and this leaves only the bedtime bottle, which we are hoping to be rid of by Christmas.) I sit her in my lap on the couch and she reclines on my growing belly. Well, at this particular snack she got kicked by her sister. Sylvia squirmed her little shoulders in response, confused by what that little whack in her back was, and continued with her drink. It was pretty cute and I thought to myself, "Oh, if only you understood . . ."

And growing belly I do have! I am starting to get rather large. I am quite confident that I was not this large at this same point last year, and I probably wasn't. The joys of a subsequent pregnancy are to thank! Otherwise, I am doing pretty well. I am still under restrictions but the immediate concerns of before are gone. I find myself getting terribly sore and tired by the end of the day, more so than I remember from last year, but I am quite confident that crawling after and chasing after and lifting a one year old are to blame. Fortunately, Dave is great. He gets home from work and will play with the Pumpkin while I take a short rest before I prepare dinner and get some other odds and ends accomplished (it was paying bills this evening).

Next Thursday is the fetal echocardiogram. If that comes back looking good then I am pretty sure we will be done with the high-risk doctors for this pregnancy! It will be so nice to have only one physician to visit instead of two different offices. (Not to mention all the doctor appointments Sylvia needs in addition to my own.) This will be especially helpful, as after my next prenatal check I will begin having to show up every other week for my appointments.

And finally, birthday pictures will be up in a couple of days. I am waiting for one last set of pictures to be sent to me and then I can go through and pick out some of the best ones to share.

20 October 2009

Fall Happenings

This past Saturday Sylvia celebrated her first birthday with a party. Highlights included a frog cake made by her aunt, eating her entire cupcake within a couple of minutes, and playing with her "friend," Alexis. Pictures will be posted at a later date with additional information. I have few pictures myself, because we were so busy with guests and Sylvia that I didn't have the opportunity to take many photos. I am waiting to collect what others have taken.

There have been other things going on besides the party, though. Late last week Sylvia finally met the last member of the family: Eglantine. Eglantine is our surviving Society Finch who resides in her cage on top of the entertainment center. Sylvia has never seen her before and I don't think she's ever really noticed she's there. This past week when Dave took her down to clean her cage, we let Sylvia "meet" Eglantine. It was pretty cute; the two of them were really checking each other out. Now whenever Eglantine begins to chirp Sylvia is quick to look up and point at her.
Sylvia is also very interested in my knitting, which I have been doing a lot of lately. She is constantly pulling my yarn out of my knitting bag or trying to get my needles or finished pieces of a project I am working on. I finally gave her two scraps of knitting that I call "Sylvia's knitting." Believe it or not, this thrilled her. She will often take both pieces around the house with her.
The day of the birthday party was gorgeous, and I took a picture of our property to commemorate such a wonderful day:
And, finally, the day after Sylvia's birthday she got her first "big girl" bath. She LOVED having the entire tub to splash around in, as opposed to her little baby tub. I also admire her modesty, as you can see in the photo.

14 October 2009

With Tears of Joy

We received a phone call from our genetics counselor today. She received the test results from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (where Lovebug's cell samples were sent to be further cultured and analyzed). Lovebug does NOT have Von-Hippel Lindau Disease! We are very excited and feel very blessed that the results came back negative.

This will still be a family journey, as Dave and Sylvia do have the disease, but it is so wonderful that our second daughter does not.

As a refresher I will post a short description of what VHL is:

The disease is caused by mutations of the Von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor (VHL) gene on the short arm of the third chromosome.

VHL is an autosomal dominant disorder, but there is a wide variation in the age of onset of the disease, the organ system affected and the severity of effect. Most people with von Hippel-Lindau syndrome inherit an altered copy of the gene from one parent. As long as one copy of the VHL gene is producing functional VHL protein in each cell, tumors do not form. If a mutation occurs in the second copy of the VHL gene during a person's lifetime, the cell will have no working copies of the gene and will produce no functional VHL protein. A lack of this protein allows tumors characteristic of von Hippel-Lindau syndrome to develop.

Features of VHL are:

angiomatosis - little knots of capillaries in the retina and various organs.

hemangioblastomas - tumors of the central nervous system (CNS, especially the cerebellum, brain stem, and spinal cord).

pheochromocytoma - tumors of the adrenal medulla that often produce catecholamines

renal cell carcinoma - malignant tumors on the kidneys

pancreas - cysts and tumors of the pancreas, which may be neuroendocrine tumors. Can be visualised by CT scan.

Untreated, VHL may result in blindness and permanent brain damage; death is usually caused by complications of tumors in the brain or kidney, and cardiovascular disease secondary to pheochromocytoma. With early detection and appropriate treatment, there is more hope today for people with VHL than ever before.

12 October 2009

Changing of the Seasons

It's that time of year again. The rains are plenty, our ponds are full, and our trees have not only all changed but many have lost most of their leaves this past weekend. This picture is from last Friday, but one would be amazed to see a similar shot today. And our lives continue to change and evolve around here as well. Last Thursday I went in for a growth and anatomy scan of Lovebug. She looked great, but was a stubborn little gal and many measurements couldn't be attained. She also wouldn't let us get any nice pictures of her, except for this one little wave that she offered:
In the beginning of November, I return for a fetal echocardiogram to check out her heart as well as another growth and anatomy scan. Sylvia was born with no heart defects or abnormalities of any kind, and we are hopeful that Lovebug will be like her sister in this regard.
And speaking of Sylvia, our Little Pumpkin will be one year old this coming Saturday. She already got a dry run for a birthday party by attending the first birthday of a "friend" of hers this past Saturday. She had a great time and was excited by all the presents she saw. She was a little disappointed when she didn't get to open any of them, but I am sure this coming weekend will make up for that.
I have posted several pictures over the last year of Dave and Sylvia and I took another one yesterday. I cannot believe how much bigger Sylvia is in every shot. It won't be long and she'll be standing next to him for a picture of the two of them together. She is continuing to grow and develop in many ways. This past weekend we finally got her to successfully drink from a sippy. We have tried every type of sippy cup on the market, and we have used praise, trickery, and bribery to try and get her to use them. We have given her "drinking lessons" from a regular cup and Dave and I have been seen wandering around the house drinking from sippies ourselves. Finally, after four months of trying, she has taken several drinks from a cup with a built in straw. She seems to have begun to accept the sippy.
And as you can see from these above two pictures, she has also begun to climb. She loves to climb, in fact. Of course, she doesn't know how to get down from where she has climbed to yet so this has resulted in a couple of minor falls. One needs to live and learn, I suppose. In addition to her climbing she has figured out the child proof cupboards and can now hold the door open as far as she can with one hand and reach her other little arm inside the cupboard to retrieve whatever she finds of interest. She's not the only one in the household to do this, as we also have a cat who has had this figured out for months. Speaking of this cat, Sylvia will point at him and say, "Edder, Edder." ("Edgar, Edgar.")

Sylvia also returns to the eye doctor tomorrow. Originally we were going in for two concerns, but thankfully, one of them has cleared up on its own. She had a blocked tear duct for her first ten months of life and then suddenly, it disappeared. This is a huge blessing, as it would have meant surgery this month if it hadn't. The other reason for her visit is to look for retinal angiomas (eye tumors), which can present with her VHL. We are not expecting to find any, but an annual exam is recommended.

And finally, Dave has continued with his knitting. I now have him working on a scarf (see below). It may take him a year and a half to finish it at the rate he is going, but he seems to be enjoying it and I am quite impressed with his work thus far. I am, of course, knitting but as my projects are mostly gifts right now I will have to postpone showing off my work.

05 October 2009


This is going to be a busy week around here. I am in a doctor's office three times this week, we have two birthday parties to go to, and some other odds and ends that are happening or require our attendance. Today I had an ultrasound that was ordered by my regular OB. This scan was primarily concerned with things relating to me, but she did a check on Lovebug too. Lovebug looks as happy as can be for a just-over-halfway-through-the-pregnancy-baby. The above picture is her face on the bottom right and her little leg is extending over her and her little foot is giving her mama a good kick in the gut!

And for those of you who may have forgotten, or do not yet realize, how difficult it can be to dress a toddler, I thought I would post a reminder/foreshadow. This is Dave trying to get Sylvia into her pajamas tonight:

Truth be told, her mama can do it a little faster, but watching daddy try is so much fun! It takes him a good ten minutes to complete the operation.