Monday, August 25, 2008

Mary Moves to Dallas!

Mary Clare was just born ready to be in college...and now it seems like time sped by! She's the 4th Harkins to be at UD too. It must be strange to my parents to have more kids living out of the house than in--and half in Dallas at that! This year at UD there will be 5 Fagan-cousins, and more in the area, which will make our family days so much more fun!

We had a nice dinner on Saturday night when everyone arrived and afterwards Emily opened her birthday presents from Nana and Grandaddy. On top of some clothes, she got a cool table that has interchangeable discs that have all sorts of buttons and switches to push that light up and sing. It's perfect for her because she needs to work on pulling herself up and it's just the right height. Nona gave her a cute little piano which she loves too. It plays tons of kids songs and the keys light up. Aunt Mary gave her some Mother Goose and Spot books that, of course, she wont let me read to her but she likes to chew on them.
Yay size 1 shoes fit!

On Sunday after mass we went to a cajun restuarant for food "so good you'll slap your momma." It reminded me of good ol Mississippi cooking...mmmm.
I think Elil's holding up something spicy (hence the spicy face) Newyly adopted sister Amanda

Last week Emily spent most of her time crawling around the whole house. She's pretty quick these days and loves to eat every speck off the ground. I think she's also trying to compete with Eli and I on eating...she seriously never stops (and neither to her diapers!) and she finally has cut her first tooth on the bottom. Yesterday she had her 12 month checkup. She weighs 15.5 lbs and is 27" long. She grew 3 inches in 3 months but hasn't put on much weight, probably because she never stays still! We need your prayers on one more medical issue that's come up, and are hoping to avoid surgery, especially since she's due for surgery next year on her hemangioma. After a lot of research on all the medications Emily has taken, Eli and I have developed a "wait and see" attitude combined with more of a natural remedies solution as opposed to commercial drugs. I think we've had some bad luck with the meds (one has been recalled, and most other gave her severe reactions).

We had a playdate at the arboretum this week and enjoyed one of the last $1 days. Rebecca and Sophia joined us and we had a blast! We will definately have to come back very soon.

We fed the fish bread...Emily just wanted to eat it herself!
Standing up all by herself!

Isn't Sophia adorable!? She's such a sweetie.

Busy playing in the fountain

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Emily learns to crawl

You know how everyone always says "oh enjoy your baby when she cant go anywhere!" or "you'll be sorry you wished she could crawl!". Well I think I can honestly say that my life is much easier and Emily's life is much happier now that she is mobile. Just imagine a baby with a very active mind who wants to get into everything but is stuck. For awhile Emily wouldn't let me put her down...she needed me to take her around to explore. Now that she can move, she can entertain herself for like 10 minutes at a time! It's so fun watching her slowly inch herself across the room!
We’ve had a bit of bad luck with our cars lately. Early in the week someone tried to steal our car. They were unsuccessful (thank goodness!!!) but ended up breaking the window and ripping out the steering column, which cost $1000 to repair. It turned out to be a big hassle trying to get it towed to the car shop. The first tow truck guy ripped off the bumper, harassed me, tried to charge me $50 to put it back on, and when I said no he unloaded the car and crashed into it and fled the scene. This was after Emily and I stood out in the 100 degree heat for 3 hours (poor little baby). So the cops were called and another tow truck came, but couldn’t get the car loaded because of the position it was in from the first tow truck. So finally everything was worked out with the 3rd tow truck that night. I enjoyed driving Eli to work in the mornings—30 minutes of time to do nothing but talk! It was great!
We had a pretty full weekend--we are trying to find more free things to do in Dallas so I can get out of the house. As much as I love being home with Emily, I still find myself overwhelmed when I don’t talk to or see anyone besides Eli for days. I go to mass everyday and try to take Emily to the park too, but there aren't too many moms my age with a baby who stay at home and don’t have grandma at their fingertips. I imagine things will change when Eli can spend more time with us after he graduates in December! Yay! Anyway so we went to run on the Katy Trail in Dallas on Saturday and went to visit Anne afterwards. On Sunday after mass, Lauren had us over to her new apartment for a BBQ. Old mill hasn’t changed much except that they painted the exterior. Quite a trip down memory lane--we could remember all the apartments of our friends and all the good times we'd had on the circus (more or less the courtyard). Later on we went to the mall Grapevine Mills and walked around Old Town Grapevine. Pretty cool...lots of wine tasting shops and boutiques.
Both Emily and Eli are sick with a cold/bronchitis/strep. Eli went to the doctor yesterday and is on antibiotics and stayed home from work. Emily as usual is having a hard time sleeping and I don’t think she's fully adjusted to being back from vacation. She's been waking up at least 3 times in the middle of the night to nurse. Although she's been taking 2 pretty good naps everyday so I cant complain! :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Year of Miracles

It's hard to believe that Emily turned 1 year old on Monday! Looking back over this crazy year, there are so many of God's blessings for which to be thankful. At the time we were in robot mode, trying not to think about little things like how Eli was unemployed 2 weeks before Emily was born, or how our car broke down and we had to buy a new one the day she came home from the hospital. We probably wouldn't have survived the crisis without the support and prayers from everyone, and the extreme dedication of the doctors, nurses, and therapists. Emily is certainly the bravest little girl who even today is quite the fighter. She is truly an inspiration to us all! Here's a list of just a few things she's gone through in her short life:
-82 days of hospitalization
-heart surgery to repair the hole in her heart (after 5 rounds of intense medication which failed)
-100s of apneas and bradycardias (when her heart rate would slow drastically and she would stop breathing, many times turning blue in our helpless arms)
-living hooked up to an IV, a heart rate monitor, an oxygen monitor, an arterial line, a feeding tube, a respirator to a CPAP to nasal cannula, in a temperature regulated glass box
-severe acid reflux which burned a hole in her esophagus
-phototherapy treatment for jaundice
-respiratory distress syndrome (she had synagis shots to avoid rsv)
-Spastic diplegia (she continues to have occupational therapy each week and is improving!!!)
-eczema, allergies, staff infections, etc.

We are happy to report that Emily is just about as healthy as can be and can almost CRAWL! She still needs surgery on her arm in the next year, but is currently taking no oral medications and is all in all a typical adorable baby. Talk about a miracle:)

No bigger than a dollar bill

On her birthday we had a little dinner for her with some family (Aunt Lauren, Aunt Teresa, Uncle Kyle, cousin Aidan). She got to try cake for the first time and loved it!


She was crying because she thought we were taking away her new toy!

Now she's happy and trying to figure out how it works

Very stylish big girl clothes from Uncle Kyle and Aunt Teresa

Favorite Touch and Feel Books

Aidan is getting so big!

Playdate with Matty at the park

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Fabulous Trip to Tahoe

We left for Lake Tahoe to meet the Danzes on Saturday after Eli finished his final. Emily was great on the flight, despite the 2 hour delay on the runway. In fact, she behaved herself like an angel the whole week even though her routine was "relaxed" due to the 2 hour time change!
On Sunday after mass at a church with a stunning view of the mountains, we met up with Eli's grandparents and the Raffs at the hotel restaurant's superb Champange Breakfast which sat on Lake Tahoe's shore. We had a relaxing day with some naps to make up for going to bed around 4am our time! Eli and I laid out on the beach to watch the sun set over the mountains and just thought that life couldn’t get any better than this.
The whole family went on a catamaran ride around the lake on Monday. The scenery was honestly breathtaking--the pine trees line the mountains leading down to the crystal clear water. They even served wine and cheese on the ride!

Early Tuesday morning we took a short 2 mile hike around Spooner Lake. It was interesting to see the different flowers and birds of the mountains. There were tons of my favorite trees--the tall and thin "quaking" aspen with leaves that look like they're glistening from afar. We spent the rest of the day at the pool.

Eli and his dad went for an intense bike ride up the mountains on Wednesday. They basically rode straight up the cliffs for an hour along about a two foot path—if they took one wrong move they could have fallen off! Eli says the pictures don’t give the views justice, but they look pretty amazing to me. Meanwhile, Sheri, Emily and I took a walk to see all the huge estates on Lakeshore and then I got a relaxing massage and Sheri babysat Emily. Later on that day we went rafting on the river that feeds into/out of? the lake with Joseph and Ken. For a Level 1 it was pretty scary with a little bit of white water, almost capsizing, getting stuck on a few boulders, etc. Very fun and quite a workout!

Thursday we left Emily with Chris to go play some putt-putt with the family at a really neat old-school course. Grandma and Grandpa were the best with rivals Eli and Joan. I of course was probably the worse, but hit my only hole in one on the last shot and won a free game! We took Emily to the beach afterwards for some good ol sand-eating and chasing the waves. For dinner Joan and Ken took us all to another great restaurant on the Lake—we celebrated Emily’s birthday there too.

Friday rolled around quicker than ever. We went to Thunderbird Lodge, once owned by millionaire George Whittell during the mid 1900s. Whittell also owned 25 miles of Lake Tahoe’s shore. His estate is very secluded and unique—with 600’ of tunnel below the main floor, there is also a dungeon, an indoor pool, an elephant’s house, a card-playing room with secret exit, a private beach, and an attached boathouse housing his $3 million yacht. We spent the rest of the day at the beach and had a nice dinner with Chris and Sheri. Then we hit the casinos and won back the money we’d lost the whole week plus more! What a great ending to a great trip!