Wednesday, December 4, 2013


House closing week!!!!!!!!!!!!! yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lots of money going out the door, and signing our names many times over, all for a house! We will be officially home owners, as of 11am tomorrow morning!

A huge dream has come to reality. Now for the joys (and frustrations) of home ownership. We're ready to take it on! And to start working on home improvement projects, cleaning, moving, organizing, and living on property that we (and the bank) own. Don't forget about the back yard, it needs lots of help. Any ideas?

Our backyard

And soon, hopefully, I will have more consistent access to a computer, in order to update the blog more frequently.

And I may be doing a "happy dance" over here  :)

Can't end a post without a cute Heidi picture. She is still wearing her helmet every day, here I just gave her a few minutes of a break. She probably has only 5 more weeks left to wear it. Her head is much more symmetrical, and the flat spot on top is almost nonexistent. I can't wait to give her hugs and kisses without a helmet! It's been worth the money and time and effort. I feel as though we are giving her the best start possible for her self-esteem in the future. And I know that we did everything medically possible. Beautiful baby! We love you!

Heidi 8 months

A few days late, but we got it! She was not very interested in smiling, so here is one of her "exploring" aka chewing, on a block.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Funny Story

Heidi has become very intrigued in her surroundings, and is exploring boundaries. A current interest is the dogs food and water bowl. I've told her "no" before, using a stern voice, while showing her the sign for "no" but she continues to gravitate toward the bowl when she is on the floor. She has even moved obstacles aside in order to reach the bowl.

The other day, I decided enough was enough. It was time to put all my work skills to work. I let her crawl over to the bowl, and as she went to touch it, I told her "no" and pulled her a few feet away. She crawled forward to try and touch it again, and I repeated "no" and pulled her away. We repeated this over, and over, and over.... 21 times to be exact. On the 22nd time, instead of crawling over to the bowl, she crawled over to me and started to cry. She formed some new neuron connections, and started to learn!

I didn't think she would fully understand and remember after just this experience, so the following day we repeated the activity. This time, it only took her 15 tries before becoming distracted with another toy.

Fast forward to today, and as she started to crawl over to the bowl, I told her "no" and she turned, looked at me, and stopped moving. She thought for a minute, and then crawled past in order to reach a dog toy. Not that I want her putting the dog toys in her mouth, but that is better than the dog food!


and now for many more teachable moments.

And a totally unrelated picture... a walk in a park the other day resulted in this picture. It's a Texas sized leaf, transplanted to NY!!! Picture taken by Grandma, with her new camera


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

My all-time favorite cookie. A few adjustments from the recipe on the back of the Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip bag. Salt is unnecessary, substitute shortening for butter or margarine. Decreased cooking time is most important! And always save some dough to eat uncooked.

Chocolate Chip Cookies                                                                

2 ¼ c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 c shortening
¾ c granulated sugar
¾ c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1.     Heat oven to 375 degrees F
2.     In mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla until creamy.
3.     Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4.     Gradually beat in flour and baking soda.
5.     Stir in chocolate chips
6.     Drop by rounded tablespoons on ungreased baking sheets

7.     Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Chocolate Cake Recipe

One of my favorite family recipes, for chocolate cake, chocolate butter frosting. Yum.

Chocolate Cake                                                                  

3 squares (3 oz) unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 c flour
2 c granulated sugar
½ c shortening
1.5 tsp baking soda
¾ c milk
¾ tsp baking powder
½ c milk
3 eggs unbeaten
1 tsp vanilla

1.     Heat oven to 350 degrees F
2.     Grease 2, 9 inch pans
3.     Melt chocolate, and then add chocolate, flour, sugar, shortening, baking soda, and milk into mixing bowl. Beat for 2 minutes.
4.     Stir in baking powder, add in ½ c milk, eggs, vanilla. Beat 2 minutes.
5.     Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Chocolate Butter Frosting                                                     

¼ c butter
3 c confectioners’ sugar
5 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 squares (3 oz) unsweetened chocolate, melted

1.     Beat together butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla.

2.     Stir in melted chocolate

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Heidi 7 months

Heidi "report" at 7 months of age.

Heidi, at 7 months, has 6 teeth (2 on top, 4 on bottom). She will wave "hi" when prompted, and is imitating grunting sounds. She will make consonant-vowel combinations such as "bu, ma" and is starting to make raspberry sounds. Heidi is using different intonation in her babbling. She does lots of laughing and giggling. When I ask for a kiss, she opens her mouth and leans forward. If I ask her "you want up?"she lifts her arms into the air. She looks around when I ask her "where are the doggies?" We have started to show her sign language, and she is intrigued and watches our hands. Heidi recognizes the sounds associated with Skype. She turns and is able to locate the direction of sounds.

Heidi imitates banging her hands on a toy, or on her highchair tray. Heidi takes toys out of containers. She learned how to purposely drop an object, and will look to the floor afterwards. When given a choice, such as two books, she will reach for the one she wants. Heidi has preferences for some toys over others, and smiles in recognition of certain toys like her wooden spoon. She turns pages in books, and imitates touching pictures. Heidi can push a ball back and forth. We have started telling her "no" to touching the dog food bowl, and she will pause for a second before trying again. She pats Skipper if he is close by. Heidi finds a toy hidden under a cloth. She pulls an object in order to reach a different part of the toy. Heidi takes puzzle pieces out in order to chew on them. She bangs keys on a piano, and pushes buttons on toys.

Heidi uses a pincer grasp to pick up small pieces of food. She can hold a toy in each hand, and transfers an object from one hand to the other. Heidi knocks down a tower of blocks. She holds out a toy, and laughs when she pulls it back toward herself. Heidi is army crawling everywhere, and can easily navigate around obstacles and corners. She sits for extended periods of time, and can balance herself while reaching for toys. Heidi rolls from back to stomach and stomach to back. She weight bears on her legs when held in standing.

Heidi is still nursing 4-6 times a day. She feeds herself small pieces of foods such as chicken, pork, beef, vegetables, fruits, and cereals. She spits out food she does not like. Heidi takes bites of cereal, and can move food from one side to the other side of her mouth. She eats different textures of foods such as soft, crunchy, mushy, and even ground beef. If I put food on the fork, she can get it to her mouth. She eats soup and cereal from a spoon. Heidi recognizes an open cup, and will take sips out of it with help. Heidi is now helping to get dressed by pushing her arms through the sleeves. She pulls her socks off in order to chew on her toes. When given a sippy cup, she can hold it herself if she is lying down. Heidi sleeps for 9-11 hours at night, with a few short naps during the day.

Heidi is very social, and is aware of her surroundings. She becomes quiet and looks around in new situations. Heidi is now aware when I step away from her, and she prefers to be comforted by me. She gives big smiles to people she knows, and smiles or makes sounds in order to draw attention to herself. Heidi takes a few minutes to warm up to someone new. She is interested in watching other kids play. Heidi loves to play peek-a-boo, and pulls the blanket off her face. She is intrigued by songs with hand motions, and music in general helps to calm her down. Heidi imitates facial gestures, such as a scrunched up nose.
Heidi - 7 month picture

Heidi was having some "helmet free" time, and she was so cute that I couldn't resist taking pictures. And then I couldn't decide on just one, so here are a few for you!




 We are still in the process of waiting for the bank, attorney's, and Realtor's to complete all necessary paperwork. Each day brings us closer and closer. Since we know the current owners have moved to Texas (how ironic!), the house is currently empty. Over last weekend we went to the house to explore a little, and rake the front yard. I met a few of the neighbors. The yard definitely needs some work! Anyone want to come help?

Kristin and our new house!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pictures - October 2013

Soon to be our house!

Grandma, Grandpa Gene, Heidi enjoying outside

Token leaf picture.

Daddy and Heidi

Heidi's first experience gnawing/eating beef.

4 of 6 great-grand kids. Wow, only the adults are looking at the camera!

Enjoying new clothes. 

Heidi and Mommy, trying out Heidi's snowsuit before the snow comes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

House contract accepted

We are well on our way to be first-time home owners!

Our contract for a house in Liverpool, NY was accepted. We are approved for a mortgage, and the house passed the home inspection with little that needs to be done. woohoo.

The house, or soon-to-be our house, is a farmhouse colonial, 1900 square feet, with 2-stories. A 2 car attached garage, unfinished basement, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms. Situated on .25 acres, and is adjacent to a "green space" in the back. On a cul-de-sac, built in 1968. Definitely needs work, but within our price range :) And has a real wood burning fireplace.

Heidi and me during home inspection.

Hoping for a closing date of December 2nd, or sooner!

Lots of room for people to visit and stay (hint hint Texas friends).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Updates through pictures

Lots of pictures for your enjoyment.

Heidi and Daddy (in his work uniform).
He has been working for 2.5 weeks. yay!

Me, Bo, Heidi, Aunt Laura, Uncle John

Aunt Laura and Heidi enjoying the hammock.
Heidi and Aunt Laura, cuddles during a nap. 

Heidi in Baltimore, MD
Me, Heidi and Bo (who really wanted to be on the bed)
First time apple picking, Amsterdam, NY

Introducing music early, at
Great-Grandma's baby grand piano
4 generations
Catherine, Great-Grandma, Grandma, Heidi

Long-time family friend Catherine, and Heidi

Out for a stroll along the Erie Canal.

Heidi and Grandma, Piseco Lake, Adirondacks, NY
Look at those beautiful, colorful trees!

Heidi with her helmet.
Heidi has been wearing the helmet for close to 2 weeks now. The arrow was to help me with positioning, which I no longer need. She is not bothered, but does like to scratch her head when the helmet is off. Heidi wears it 23 hours a day, including naps and night time. We are praying her head is malleable. Heidi was rolling, but needs to learn this skill again while wearing the helmet. She started scooting forward the day before she received the helmet, and had become faster with the scoot. Heidi is most motivated by electronics. ha. Unfortunately, insurance declined covering the helmet, as her numbers were not significant enough. But we felt that if there is a treatment out there, we should take advantage of it. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Heidi 5 & 6 month pictures

Heidi's favorite part of taking pictures,
trying to eat the sticker.

Heidi 5 months old

Heidi 6 months old

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wonderful news!

No, not pregnant....

no, not a place to live......

but yes, a JOB!!!! Kelby accepted a job as a Mechanical Engineer for Novelis Aluminum, in Oswego, New York. He starts September 23rd, and he'll be working in a maintenance capacity at the cold mill plant. Thanks for all the prayers! We are super excited for this next adventure. (and especially for a salary!!!!)

It's harder to update the blog from my tablet, as typing on that is tedious. So I have to bum Kelby's computer, as our main computer is in storage.

Today we took Heidi and the dogs for a walk along the Erie Canal. While growing up, I used to ride my bike along the canal, so it was a neat reflection merging my old with my new. Today's temperature was 60 and cloudy, so Heidi was wrapped up in a couple of blankets. Skipper was not having the best of days, so we took it slow and easy.

Heidi has had a burst in development. It is miraculous watching her learn new skills, most of which haven't required any teaching on my part. Just giving her opportunities and time to practice what she wants to learn, shows her inner drive. Fascinating, especially since she can the ability to use all her senses at the same time. Heidi is now sitting totally unassisted, and is propping with one hand in order to use the other hand to play. While on her stomach, she is turning in multiple circles, and rolling around. She has started pushing backwards on the floor. She is making lots of different sounds, and shows great anticipation. Her giggle is contagious. Heidi can now pick up a puff using a partial pincer grasp, and put it into her mouth to eat. She consistently turns to her name, and recognizes sounds such as Skype. Heidi prefers to have me close by, and has started looking for me when someone else holds her (sooo cute!). While nursing, if there are lots of distractions, she will look around the room. Heidi has slept 11 or 12 hours straight at night, but that means her naps are shorter.

We took her in for another evaluation for her head, this time at Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics. They also recommend a helmet, for her plagiocephaly. If anything, it is more pronounced since the first evaluation 5 weeks ago. We go back this week for Heidi to be fitted and scanned for a helmet. We are trying to have insurance cover it, but not sure if her asymmetry will be significant enough. Insurance had me write a letter, describing what I have already tried in terms of re-positioning. I used lots of work terminology. That made me glad for my experience.

And now, what you have been waiting for. Pictures.

Heidi, me, Sophie, Skipper (and mom taking the picture) before leaving TX.

Heidi and Grandma, on Grandma's week that she
would be returning to work, except she is now retired!

A major reason we are now living in NY.
I get to spend time with my Grandma.
This makes me happy.

Heidi and me, enjoying the outdoors.

Grandpa is teaching Heidi how to read the newspaper.

Heidi and her Daddy.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Update from Central New York

Everyone made it safe and sound. Our moving truck has been unloaded into a storage unit, and we are settling in at my parent's house. (thanks for everyone's help back in Texas to get the truck loaded!) Heidi has my sister's old room, and Kelby, myself, and both dogs have the guest bedroom. We are making it work. My parents put a lot of effort into re-arranging the house.

The weather is wonderful. High's are in the 60's and 70's, with lows in the 40's and 50's. Great daytime temperatures, and great sleeping temperatures! It's rained a few days, but that just keeps everything green for longer. The dogs love being outside, and we are taking longer walks than in Texas. The dogs are learning the boundaries of the yard, and to not bark at passing dogs.

Heidi spends time outside on a blanket, and today she touched grass. Was not impressed. Will try again. She is now sitting unsupported for a few minutes at a time. She wants to eat anything in sight, therefore I can no longer eat in front of her, as she reaches out for the food, or opens her mouth for a bite. So far, Heidi has tried sugar snap peas, peaches, apple sauce, green beans, bread, as well as cereal. Another post at a later point in time with my baby eating method (it's not conventional!)

Kelby had a face-to-face interview with a company in Oswego, NY. Please pray that we hear good news this week!

We miss all our friends and family back in Texas. If you would like our temporary address, please let us know! We will be keeping our cell phone numbers the same.

~ Kristin, Kelby, Heidi, Skipper, Sophie

Saturday, August 17, 2013

therapy cont.

- sensory idea: Using a dog. Skipper is not interested in getting close to Heidi, probably because he can't predict her movements. Sophie will sit close by for a few seconds, until Heidi pulls on her hair, and then Sophie moves out of reach. This picture is only 'slightly' posed, meaning I helped Sophie to lay down next to Heidi, but I didn't have to make Sophie stay. In terms of sensory exploration, Sophie's hair (and Maggie's) is a very unique feeling compared to all of Heidi's plastic, paper, cloth, and wooden toys. It's good for her to experience.

Sophie, Heidi
Maggie and Heidi. Maggie is currently in training to be a therapy dog.

- another sensory idea: I now lay Heidi down on the bathroom floor while I take a shower, so I can play peek-a-boo from behind the shower curtain (a good social activity), and make sure she is okay. I put toys around her, but she likes her hands in her mouth the best. She also likes exploring the carpet and the wall, by moving her fingers back and forth, or flicking. The texture of the wall is different, along with the sound that it makes. On a side note, I love being able to connect behaviors of kids I worked with, to the point in development where it started. Fun. No picture associated with this one. water + camera = not a smart idea.

- feeding: I learned to much from some of my co-workers (Nicole and Melissa specifically!) in how to help a baby eat, and tricks to use. I was/am very purposeful on how I introduced Heidi to food. Per her pediatrician, we started with rice cereal. I placed the spoon with a little runny cereal on it, in her mouth, and let Heidi try to take it off the spoon with her lips and tongue. I didn't scrape it against her top lip. This way, she was more in control of what was happening. I also let her get as dirty as she wanted. The cereal ended up everywhere! On her feet, elbows, hair, face and every crevice in her hands. But that is part of the food experience. I didn't clean her up until the end, so she can become accustomed to feeling the food on her face and hands. When Heidi reached for the spoon, I let her hold it, and she guided it into her mouth, where she sucked off the cereal. Self feeding is important, and I want to do what I can to keep her interested in it.

Heidi's 1st time trying rice cereal.

Heidi tryng cereal.
 - Oh, and for now, eating food is only for the practice of trying to chew/swallow/taste the foods. She still receives all her nutrition from breast milk. Therefore, the quantity of food that she is eating is pretty irrelevant. :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Heidi's 1, 2, 3, and 4 month pictures

Notice how much Heidi has grown. Looking back over the months, her personality is starting to develop. She has baby chub on her, and she has a precious wonderful smile. She has started giggling, and she has definite preferences, and is letting us know! Heidi is rolling from stomach to back, and back to stomach. So much fun!!!! And so appreciative that I get to spend my days with her.

P.S. - these pictures are a lot of work. It's surprising how such a little one can be so challenging and disinterested in the process. We will still press forward....

Thursday, August 15, 2013

therapy ideas

A few therapy techniques that I wanted to remember.

- to help Heidi roll to her non-preferred side, I laid her outside on the grass (on a blanket - Texas has crazy ants). We were on a slight incline, so I put her non-preferred side down on the incline. This way, gravity helped her to roll over that shoulder. Also, when she is on her stomach, I lay next to her preferred side, and thus my body blocks her from rolling that way. She gets frustrated, so I sometimes give her a slight push to help get her started on the roll the other way.

- I was reading a website, and took notice of a great feeding technique. When a baby is trying to feed themselves finger foods, the pieces of food can be small and frustrating for the baby to pick up. Especially since the food has to be small enough to not be a choking hazard, but big enough that the baby can use a pincer grasp or a racking motion to pick up the food. Continue to use small pieces, but on slippery/slimy pieces of soft fruit or vegetables, try sprinkling baby cereal or crushed up cereal or anything else along these lines, to give the mushy food more firmness to make it easier to hold. Awesome idea!!!!

- With the daily stretches I need to do with Heidi, it is hard listening to her cry every time. She is now old enough where she pushes my hand or arm away if she dislikes the stretch. So now I do silly faces, sing songs, have music and lights playing, to all try and distract her. If I don't push a stretch too far, we can now sometimes do a few stretches with no tears. There is one stretch where she lays across my arms, and if we do this stretch while I walk around, she tolerates it fairly well. 

Trying to reach the piano is hard work. Practicing tummy time, in order to build muscles.