Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Year in Photos: March & April

Our friends Chad and Emily got married in March. I was a groomsman and Sofia was the flower girl. Jessica worked security for the flower girl. I think we all behaved competently. This is Justin and Jonathan, who were also groomsmen. We got a bit bored during rehearsal.

Our mail lady, delivering my copy of Giant Sized Tales to Suffice, a comic labor of love from friend Kenny Keil. Kenny was publishing Tales at SLG, but then lost his distribution due to a change in policy. He raised the money to publish on his own, and I was very excited to get my copy. So excited that I asked our mail lady if I could take a picture of her delivering it. She was amused.

Sofia, obviously. 

Sofia and Meemaw. Meemaw was in Vanderbilt Hospital at the same time as Nadia having major back surgery. I took Sofia over from the Children's Hospital to the rehab clinic to visit Meemaw one day, and they became good friends. I'm not doing a good job of getting them together. 

I finally had my head examined this year. You can all let that one go, now. It was for a reading study.

I don't even know the guy in that picture. We are very different people. Nadia was born on March 22nd, and I was not ready. At all. I didn't realize how not ready I was until long after Nadia was born, when I was able to step away from the situation and view everything that happened from a safer distance. 

After a week of being stabbed and bent, I was happy that Nadia would get to come home. I had started to hate the hospital. Escaping was a relief.

This is virtually the same picture that we took when Sofia came home, except there is now a lot more crap downstairs. Also of note: my "I'm With Finkleman" button. This was the day that Sofia got to meet Nadia.

If you need a description for this one, you may be at the wrong blog.

Sofia, myself, and a little girl who was much more lovely than this photo illustrates. She took it upon herself to watch over Sofia while her own mommy was busy being hit on. That guy was failing miserably, by the way. Not pictured: Jessica, who took the picture, and Nadia, who was chilling in her carrier.

It was a good thing we went to the playground that day. Sofia did not get much Mommy/Daddy for the next month.

In a year filled with bad nights, this was the worst. 

Pretty much, Johnny.

I called her Jughead for a few days. It was the only thing that could keep her head IV from being banged around without irritating her head.

Obviously more for the parents than for the kid. Nadia had difficulty breathing on her own after she got a cold  in the hospital. Down Syndrome kids developmentally delayed, and this can include their lungs. In Nadia's case, respiratory problems have already existed and are almost inevitable in the future. DS babies have smaller passages in general. It is our job as her family to act accordingly. 

After the initial return to the hospital because Nadia wasn't keeping any food down, and after she'd mostly gotten over a cold that she may have caught in the hospital, her belly got massive. I believe that, at this point, we were told that there wasn't necessarily anything to worry about. It actually got much worse after this, to the point that Nadia's ears started disappearing behind her cheeks.

There is a large gap in photos here. Apparently I have a lot of stuff that I need to file properly. I do remember that there are some important photos of Nadia as she got worse that I would be perfectly happy to just delete.  I remember telling Jessica that I didn't want any photos of Nadia at her worst, when she had hoses coming out of and going into everywhere, because I didn't want to be brought back to that moment. I think the photos are somewhere around here, though.

The good news is that we are past the hospital stuff! The next entry will be May/June, when things started getting much, much better for everyone.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Favorite Photos: January & February

Over the next week or so, I'll post some of my favorite photos of the year, occasionally with explanation. Here are some from the first two months. 

Sofia and her step-cousin Abby, at Grandpa George's house. Sofia always makes herself at home. You can't tell it here, but she fell in love with Abby this year, and became much more social in general. 

Nearly every photo of Sofia and Grandpa George looks like this, with them apparently having a conversation.

Sofia spent a lot of time staring out of the windows this year. Sometimes something awesome happens, and she wants to be ready. She also enjoyed watching the rain, trash trucks, and the mail lady.

Mommy loves the snow, and will not let a little pregnancy stop her from teaching Sofia to love it, too.

This year, as Sofia became more aware and inquisitive, Jessica and I put more work into showing her how amazing her world is.

Sofia will make anything into a hat. 

Earlier in the year, whenever Sofia disappeared from the living room, I could find her quietly reading in her bedroom. This is rarely the case now. Now she is usually up to no good.

Sofia has really grown into pretending. At Christmas dinner this year, she pretended to walk around and serve   everyone coffee to everyone, even returning to an imaginary place in the wall to refill her pot.

She also likes to pretend to help Daddy. 

Mostly she just pretends to be a frog or a puppy.

Sofia learned to color this year. 

Sometimes she even colored on the paper.

File under: photos that would have been more awesome had they been in focus. Sofia didn't just fall in love with Abby this year. She also fell in love with herself. 

Daddy's geology lab was sometimes difficult. Technology helped. 

The calm before the storm. Jessica did an amazing job on Nadia's room. I believe the room is on its third or fourth arrangement now. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Annual Leaf Ride 2011

Several years ago, Jessica and I decided it would be nice to take a long car ride to look at autumn leaves. We drove down Nolensville Road away from Nashville and accidentally into the rest of our lives. 

We wandered down this road and that, always coming back to the main highway. Eventually we discovered Arrington Vineyards, back before they even had proper signage. We didn't stop there, but we did make a note to look up info about the place. It just popped up out of nowhere as we were driving a nowhere road, and we had to see what it was all about. Over the next couple of years we visited Arrington a few more times, on Jessica's birthday and on our newly decided yearly leaf ride. We were drawn  to the place. 

It was autumn when I decided to propose to Jessica (for the second time), and I thought it would be nice to do so at the only place that held any sense of tradition for us. Unfortunately, Jessica was getting sick and was very tired from a grueling Zoo season. There was really only one day which worked for us to head out to Arrington, though, so I convinced Jessica that the ride would do her some good. 

And now I offer a video which has never been available or public consumption! 

We've visited Arrington Vineyards in the fall every year since the first. We're not exactly picky about our wine, so that isn't why. There are plenty of rural quiet places to enjoy in Middle Tennessee, so that isn't necessarily it, either. It wasn't until today's trip, Nadia's first, that I came upon why I think we still go back there periodically. For Jessica and I, finding Arrington Vineyard was a bit like finding each other. Our life together just popped up out of nowhere as we were driving a nowhere road, and we had to see what it was all about. We're still seeing, I suppose. 

Here is this year's leaf ride pics: https://picasaweb.google.com/113405825922041723336/20111106LeafRide

Monday, October 31, 2011

Just a reminder on photos and videos

we upload photos and videos regularly, but we don't always post on the blog. Be sure to periodically check the links that say Video and Photos.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wanna see Nadia's head measurements?

This was done for a helmet that Nadia will be wearing until she is one year old. The helmet will work like a Jell-o mold, meaning that Nadia's head will grow into the shape of the helmet. The helmet does not squeeze her head into shape. Nadia will wear the helmet for at least twenty-three hours a day. The scan was done using a laser gun that looked a lot like a grocery scanner.

Do not worry about the large bumps you see on these images. Those are not actually part of her head. They are from a sensor that was attached to her when she was scanned.

The desired ratio of width/length is around .8, Nadia's head is currently 1. (80% vs. 100%) The doctor was very clear in saying that this is not a certain solution.