Friday, April 29, 2011

A Giveaway!

A while back a friend of mine pointed me towards an online store that she thought I'd like, and she was spot on.  Check out my new shirt:

Seriously, how long will it take me to remember that mirrors make words go backwards? 

There you go.

Look at me!  I'm a Super Advocate!  Considering that I came across this shirt when I was neck deep in insurance battling, it seemed all too perfect for me.  Then I thought about IEP stuff, research projects, scheduling battles, rude receptionists, etc etc.  I am a super advocate . . .  and I bet that a lot of you readers are, too :) 

So I ordered myself that shirt, thought about you guys, and decided to get in touch with the shop owner, Colleen Tomko.  I told her that I knew a group of people (that's you guys) who I thought would love her designs, and asked whether she would be interested in doing a giveaway, and then she jumped on board.  Little did I know that she would send me not 1, but 2 great prizes! 

First things first, just so you know: I'm not getting anything out of this.  I paid full price for my shirt, I didn't get any kickbacks, and I don't know Colleen.  I just thought that a lot of you would dig her designs, and also, giveaways are really fun. 

Now that that's clear, check out the store:  Her store, The Parent Side, is pretty darn cool.  The designs are clever, humorous, colorful, and catchy.  I bet you'll see something that makes you smile.

Here are the giveaways!:

A mug featuring the A Super Advocate design. First off, who doesn't need a mug?  Second, while you drink your coffee/tea/water/whatever, you will recognize your awesome advocating self and smile. 

A beautiful large framed print of her "Celebrate Diversity" design.  (Specs here).  I asked for a mug, Colleen sent this too---how generous is that :)  Let me say, this is really nice---it's a great design, vibrant and colorful, and beautifully framed.  You could hang it at home, or in your office, or it would make an amazing gift to a school or therapy center (and you would be their new favorite client, I think.)

Here they both are together:

So now that you totally want this awesome stuff . . .    here's how to enter the giveaway.  Pay attention, because you can enter up to 4 times! 

1.  Leave a comment on this post.  Any comment will do  . . "Hey, I want to win!"  "Giveaways rule" "Maya is awesome", etc :)

2.  Go to The Parent Side and check out Colleen's different designs (there's a list on the left titled "Browse Designs").  Then, leave a comment here telling me which design is your favorite.

3.  Like our page on Facebook ("Uncommon Sense Blog") if you don't already.  Then, leave a comment here that says "I'm a Facebook follower!"  (If you're already a Facebook follower, you can leave this comment too, of course.)

4.  Like The Parent Side on Facebook ("The Parent Side").  Then, leave a comment here that says "I'm following The Parent Side on Facebook!"

*Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry!  

Giveaway winners will be announced next Friday, May 6th, after 5pm EST.  First number pulled will get to choose their prize, and the second winner will get the remaining prize.  If the second winner declines the remaining prize, I will pull a third number, etc.

And whether you win or lose, do check out the store.  She has a lot of fun stuff :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lose-Lose (Subtitle: Maya's mysterious ears)

A month before Maya turned one, she had her adenoids removed.  (She was so innocent and little!)

Two months before she turned two, she had ear tubes put in.  (She was semi-innocent and semi-little.)

And soon she'll be 3 (May 30th---it's coming so soon!).  I was really excited when I realized that this would be the first year that she wouldn't be sedated for any procedures . . . except now she will be.  Not until after her birthday (we don't have a date yet, but it's looking like July-ish) . . . but this will be a big one, somewhere between 1.5-2 hours of sedation. 


She'll be having an ABR (hearing test) done.  She actually already had one done . . . back when she was itty bitty (12 weeks).   Here is her full, confusing, unclear hearing story:

At birth, Maya failed the newborn screening in both ears. She had some fluid issues during delivery, so we thought he ears might just be gunky. Before we were discharged they re-screened her and she failed in the left ear, passed in the right.
Two weeks later, we went to the hospital to get rescreened. Again, she passed in the right ear and failed in the left. Her eardrums reacted normally in both (this means that fluid in the ear didn't cause the failure in the left ear). At this point, we weren't concerned---she reacted to sounds, turned to look towards the source of a noise, etc.  We thought the tests were silly---she had tiny little ear canals, and the little buds kept slipping out, so it seemed like she would obviously fail.

My ear canals are too tiny for your silly tests.

At 12 weeks, she had the ABR. In this test, the child has to remain asleep and perfectly still----little earbuds send noise into the ear canal, and electrodes are attached to the head to measure whether the brain reacts to the noise.

12 weeks, during the initial ABR.  Yes, we take pictures during everything. 

Several times, the audiologists came in from the monitoring room to check the leads, which Dave and I saw slipping out periodically. When they told us that she seemed to be failing, we asked them to double check the buds and connections again . . .  and then she passed. They were very suprised and said that they don't typically see infants who keep failing on one ear, but then have a normal ABR. 


(Well, kind of)

Fast forward 2.5 years and she has never passed an in-office hearing test at the ENT (OAEs).  Ever.  Sometimes one ear passes, but she's never passed a single one in both ears. It's a mystery. Because of that, our ENT (who is amazing) regularly sends us down to NY Eye & Ear Hospital to have "behavioral testing with 2 audiologists".  This test relies on the Maya's behavior to let the audiologists know what she hears---she has to look in certain directions, at toys that light up, etc.  The problem is, at some point, she's had enough, melts down, and the test end abruptly.  We've gone for testing 4 times now, and for the first three the results were always like this:

Audiologist:   "Ehhhh . . . the data that we were able to get looks mostly normal, but we weren't able to get everything that we really need to.  What do you think about her hearing?"

Me:  "I think she hears.  She understands when I talk to her, she identifies things in books and follows directions.  I don't know if her hearing is perfect, but I know it's functional."

Audiologist:  "Ok, that makes sense.  Come back in 4-6 months and we'll see if we can try again and learn more."

Unfortunately, when I took her a few weeks ago, she was a mess. Scared, panicked, screaming screaming hysteria that was constant and so loud that the noises she was making were louder than the volume of the tones they needed to test her on, so they couldn't get much data. They couldn't get any data at all on the left ear (which is the one that I'm concerned about).

So we were left with a choice:  Do the same as always, and try again in a few months, or repeat the ABR.  The problem is this:  an infant will sleep soundly through an ABR .  . .  3 year old Maya will not.  So she'll need to be sedated for the entirety of the test (1.5-2 hrs).  And that sucks, which is why we haven't done it within the past 2 years.  We've thought "She certainly hears well enough!  Does it really matter if she has minor loss in one ear?"

But now some things are different . . . a very smart audiologist friend of mine (thanks, Amy!) pointed out that while she may hear me seemingly perfectly in our quiet apartment, she'll be in a noisy school come September.  Some minor hearing loss can be easily addressed with simple devices in the classroom . . . so now would be a good time to really know, once and for all, what her hearing situation is.  Yesterday I met with the ENT, and he agrees.  It will likely be scheduled for sometime in July.

The worst part about this test is that it feels really lose-lose.  Either:

a) Her hearing turns out normal.  I feel terrible for putting her through sedation a fourth time, which is miserable for her.  I'm sad that we've wasted so much time on appointments for hearing that turned out to be totally normal in the end.  Lose.


b) Her hearing turns out not normal.  I feel terrible for missing the oh-so-very-clear signs that were literally present from day 1 (failed screenings, failed tests, not speaking at all, etc).  Hindsight will make a million things seem like a neon flashing sign "Mom!  I can't hear you!  Help me!  This is really easy to fix!"  Lose.


At least we'll have clear answer, though.  The time has come to figure it out for sure.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Odds and ends and questions

I'm beat.  We had a long ENT appointment today that resulted in no nap for Maya and a long day for me.  I'll write it up, to update the family, tomorrow maybe, but tonight I'm beat.  Long story short, we're changing both of her daily allergy meds, did a few in office tests that were tiresome but no big deal, and she's going to have a big hearing test sometime in June/July . . . which will require around 2 hrs of sedation.  It will be good to have firm answers, but, well . . . (sigh).

And I remembered a funny story that I thought that I had blogged about a few years ago, back when only a few immediate family members were reading it . . . but I searched and can't find it.  So I'm going to have to try to remember as many deatils as possible and type it up.

OH!!!  And . . . I'm going to have a giveaway!  A real one (as in, not a holiday card, which is the only thing I've ever given away).  I can't wait to do it  . . . I'm just waiting for the package to arrive here, which should be tomorrow or Friday :)

Finally, any questions?  Really.  I've seen a few bloggers do "Reader's Questions" posts, and they can be interesting.  You can comment on this post, or email me at:  If I get enough questions (or any questions) I'll do an answers post.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter and where I won't be on 5/11

Happy Easter!

We actually made it out to NJ to relax/celebrate with my family, which was great.  Maya coughed through the night but never had any struggling-to-breathe attacks, so we packed the nebulizer and medications and headed out.  When her breathing started to act up and we realized that we would have to cut our visit short my mom rushed to get lunch/dinner out early so that we could eat with the family before we left, my dad broke out their air conditioner and fired it up so that we could cool & dehumidify a room to ease her breathing, and my sister & brother-in-law cut up their big cake early so that we could take a chunk to-go.  My family is pretty great :)

A few pictures (we packed meds, but not a camera, so these are from my cell phone):

Easter egg hunting with a Christmas gift bag (small and easy to carry without tripping over, of course)

After we got home I opened some mail.  It turns out that one of Maya's upcoming appointments has been rescheduled, and the office mailed me a new appointment card and this note:

In case you can't read that, it says:

"The doctor will be out on 5/11. 
I have to cancel your appointment on 5/11
Here is your new date. 
Don't come on 5/11. 

So . . . wait. 

Does that mean that we're still on for 5/11?

I guess that this proves that the patient/receptionist relationship is a tricky 2 way street.  I go out of my way to be courteous and pleasant when interacting with doctor's office personnel, but there are definitely times when I get off the phone and mumble, roll my eyes, and think "Honestly, people!  This shouldn't be so hard!"   Clearly, the office folks deal with their fair share of seemingly incompentent people.  I almost feel bad for the woman who sent me this note---I can almost hear her internal dialogue as she wrote my note:

The doctor will be out on 5/11.                               
Wait.  Is that unclear?  Would she know that if the doctor's not here, she shouldn't come?

I have to cancel your appointment on 5/11.
Ok, that's clear.  And the underlining is a nice touch.

Here is your new date.
So, I cancelled, I gave her the new date . . . anything else?  What if she still thinks she should come . . .  (sigh)

Don't come on 5/11.
She'll get the point now.  Hold on, that's clear, but not so friendly.  Need something nicer to end with . . .


Saturday, April 23, 2011


7:45am.  We're awake, looking out the windows at the pouring rain and bummed that we won't be going to Sesame Place.  It just doesn't seem worth the drive when most of the stuff to do is outside.  Also, I've been miserably sick (allergies?  I'm not sure) for a few days, and hanging out outside doesn't seem like the best option.   At 7:45, my biggest problem is that our big Sesame Place adventure was cancelled.

10:00am.  We decide to go to the mall.  The mall is indoors, they have a carousel (it's as close to a Sesame ride as we're going to get) and Maya can walk around.  Maya seemed pleased with the plan:

Good times for everyone :)
Maya & Daddy

Maya & Mommy

The mall also brought one of the high points of my day, a new zebra-y cheap plastic cell phone cover!


At the mall, my biggest problem was that I felt pretty winded and run-down. 

1:00pm.  Naptime.  Maya is sleeping, coughing occasionally.  I'm trying to upload some pictures, but my laptop screen is periodically crackling (like an old rabbit-eared TV) and then going black.  Uh oh.  This isn't a good sign for the future of my computer (or the blog).  My biggest problem is the apparent start of my computer's swan song.

2:25pm.  Still naptime.  Why is she coughing so much? 

3:00pm.  Weird sounds on the monitor make me jump up and rush into Maya's room, where it's clear that she's having trouble breathing.  Dave holds her, I set up the nebulizer, she is in semi-shock from being woken up so quickly, and the stridor noises and gaspy breaths are scary scary.  From 3pm on, my biggest problem is Maya's breathing.  It makes all of the other "problems" of the day seem ridiculous.  

A missed trip weeks in the making?  The death of my computer?  Small potatoes when asthma/croupy/she-can't-breathe stuff makes an appearance.  Talk about perspective.

We've talked to the doctor, done 2 breathing treatments, started oral meds, and at one point debated a trip to the ER (which, thankfully, wasn't necessary) .  On this yucky, humid day the biggest trick for us was running the air conditioner in her room and letting it get cold and dry in there---some people do well with warm and moist, others with cool and dry, and she seems to be the latter.  Times like this make me grateful for my own asthma, and for the fact that I remember getting croup as a kid (I had it a bunch of times).  With Maya unable to talk, I'm glad that I can understand what she's feeling, and predict what might help based on what would feel better to me.

Breathing stuff is scary.

I guess the silver lining is that I'm really glad we didn't try to tough it out and go to Sesame---I think her breathing would have worsened faster if we were out in the rainy air, and I would have been panicked at being far from home and without our nebulizer. 

And poor Parker . . . we barely got to celebrate his Gotcha Day :)  It was 1 year ago today that we went and picked him up in CT  (he's a new big brother, by the way, as his lovely breeder just welcomed 7 new puppies 2 days ago!).   He's been Maya's faithful sidekick ever since.  After she was tucked into her crib, Dave & I sang "Happy Anniversary":

*PS-Did you see Maya's new big girl haircut?  She got it yesterday and I put a picture up on the FB page.  I haven't had time to upload them all yet, I was going to do a post today, but other stuff got in the way.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shake a tail feather* (literally)

Spring was in the air at the Bronx Zoo today, and all of the boy birds were trying their best to impress the girl birds. 

Like this turkey, all puffed up:

"Look at how big and impressive I am!"

"Maya, go stand by the turkey" 
 "Um, I don't think so, Mommy"

"Daddy, save me!"

But the coolest by far was a male peacock, displaying his full plumage to a very bored looking female:


 Hey.  Hey you.  Look at me.

I know you can see me.  How'd ya like this angle?

PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!  (This was when he shrieked and charged her.)

Right after that, I started taking some video (on the cell phone, but still pretty good quality): 

(you've got to watch at least until 0:56 to see the bird tushie shake.  It's the undisputed highlight.)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An itchy science nerd = Photo play-by-play of allergy testing

This post has nothing to do with Maya.  It's all about letting my science nerdiness shine through :)   So if you don't see the suspense and intrigue in medical tests, you might want to sit this one out.

This week I've been to the pulmonologist twice.  If that seems excessive, consider the fact that prior to this, my last appointment was 4 years ago.  Oops.  He walked into the room on Monday and said "Hi!  Wow, I feel like it's been a long time, no?"  (I went off all of my medications before I decided to try to conceive, and my breathing problems got substantially better during pregnancy.  By the time I needed to go back, we were right in the middle of the first round of EI assesssments, and the rest is history.)

So my breathing hasn't been feeling right, allergies are starting, and Dave is home on break to watch Maya---the perfect storm for getting in for my pulmonary function test (PFT) and check-up.  On Monday I did the PFT (which is kind of interesting---a lot of breating exercises into a computerized tube thing that makes charts and graphs).  The results came back "good".  I was suspicious, because I don't feel "good".  The doctor was checking out my information and told me to come back today (Weds) to have 2 additional tests done. 

So the first test that I did today was an asthma challenge test.  (Dave thought this one sounds like a game show segment . . . "Step this way, folks, for the Aaaaasthma Challlllllengggggge . . . " )  It involves doing a segment of the PFT and then inhaling a medicine that "irritates the lungs".  Then you redo the PFT segment, then take a stronger dose of the medicine, etc.  If you can last through 5 rounds of battle, you're asthma free.   (I am not asthma free----after 4 rounds I could barely stagger over to the machine, and when I tried to breathe in the tube the computer beeped and the tech brightly (and quickly) said "Ok!  That's it for you!  Here, take 2 puffs of this inhaler now!")

The second test was an allergy panel.  It was awesome!  I've always been "allergic" but I've never really had any sort of scientific confirmation of my allergies (or asthma, for that matter).   My pediatrician was old school (and also, just plain old) . . . his diagnostic process went like this:

My mom:  I think she might be allergic to cats
Doctor:  Hmm.  (turning to me)  How do you feel when you're around cats?
Me:  My eyes itch.
Doctor:  (writes in chart "allergic to cats")

So I was (nerdily) excited to find out what I'm really allergic too.  The test consisted of 40 tiny skin punctures (really, puncture is a silly word for it, it's like when you poke your skin with a safety pin enough so that the safety pin dangles there, but you can't really feel it.  Not that I've done that or anything.) to test for 40 different things.

I decided to photodocument my arms through the 20 minute test with my cell phone camera.  The other folks in the waiting room must have thought I was crazy, but if I didn't find a way to entertain myself I would have scratched my arms off.

Arm 1 at the start (the markings say "A" and "B")

3 minutes in

 20 minutes in

In the bathroom mirror, as I was about to leave the appointment.  The swollen welts that remain were the things that I was allergic to on this arm.

Arm 2 at the start (C, D & E).  On the left you can see the rows of puncture squares.

3 minutes in.  See that big scary welt thing happening on the left?  It was so, so itchy.

In the mirror, about to leave.  Still itchy.

I'm allergic to a bunch of fairly mundane stuff:  cats, some grasses, some molds, ragweed, some dust mites, etc.  Nothing crazy.  The funniest allergy was that big, angry, spreading welt----that was for timothy hay.  You know who loves timothy hay?

The rabbits!

We are probably the only people in the Bronx who order timothy hay by the bale---we have half a bale on our terrace right now (the rabbits eat it and it lines their hutch & run).  I laughed out loud when the doctor told me that my strongest reaction was to the timothy hay----it figures.

I think the nerdiest part of the appoitnment was when the pulmonologist was setting up for the allergy panels---he had little trays of the liquid allergens, and was taking out the 8-pronged scratcher things, and marking my arms, and I kind of giggled and said "I feel like we're doing a chemistry experiment!"  On the outside, he kind of smiled and said something polie to me, but I think on the inside he was probably rolling his eyes and thinking "Yes, that's what I do.  'Chemistry experiments'.  Not 'medical testing',  like say, a doctor would do . . . but experiments, like you do when you're in high school. You go to the waiting room now."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

You think I'd crumble? You think I'd lay down and die? Oh no, not I . . .*

A full week of no updates . . . and what do I have to show for it?


Those are the supporting documents that were included in my insurance appeal.  (No, I didn't include 6 packets of blank paper---those ones are just flipped face down due to identifying information).  While I've often alluded to the misery of fighting with insurance, I don't think that I've ever taken the time to really lay the battle out.  Now that our appeal has been finished and sent, I have the presence of mind for some explanation.

I have regular fights debates clarifying conversations with the kind customer service folks over at our insurance company.   Just this week, we had 2 chats:

Monday: I receive 3 denials of claims for pediatrician visits (I tend to save up receipts and then send a bunch at once).  Upon calling and talking to the rep, I explain that I don't think it's possible that we haven't met our deductible for Maya.  He says "well, remember, the amount is not based on how much the doctor bills, it's based on how much we pay out."  I fumble with receipts, sigh, and ask why her vaccinations weren't covered, since the form says "Vaccinations are only included until the patient's 19th birthday."  At this point we realize that all of the claims were processed under my name instead of Maya's, and we have the exact same exchange that I have at some point during Every Single Call to the company:

Him:  Well, ma'am, the doctors office must have made an error in filling out the forms.
Me: Actually, I fill out the forms.  And at this point, I could do them in my sleep.  Are you able to pull up an electronic copy on your computer and verify that there's not a mistake on the forms?
Him: Hold on one second (click clack clickety clack).  Hmmmm.  (click clack clickety clack) Well, ma'am it seems like everything is in order here.  I'm going to just go ahead and reprocess them for you.
Me:  Ok, great.  (eyes rolling until they nearly touch my brain)  Thanks so much for your help.

Tuesday:  While cleaning off my desk (sorting through papers for the appeal) I find an older denial for 2 pediatrician visits.  This time the reason for the denial is "The treatment was given in an inappropriate or invalid place of service"  (yes, that's a direct quote).  And the call went like this:

Me: I'm calling because I think these claims may have been processed incorrectly.
Insurance: Well, ma'am, I'm seeing that they were denied because the service was provided in an "incorrect or inappropriate location".
Me: Well, they were pediatrician appointments. In the pediatrician's office. I'm not sure where else we could have met with him.
(then we looped directly into the conversation quoted above)

Anyway, this appeal was not about these smaller denials---it's about 79 (so far) denials for Maya's feeding therapy.  Maya gets private feeding therapy twice a week, which is invaluable to the development of her muscles and coordination, and is a large part of the reason that she's not still eating jars of baby food (which she was still on until after her 2nd birthday).   To make a 3-month-long-story short, after manymanymany phone calls and re-submissions, we found out that the therapy was being denied because it was being provided by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) . . . to the company, appropriate providers of feeding therapy included pediatricians, GI surgeons, and family practicioners. 

(If I hadn't been in frustrated tears at this point of this particular phone call, I would have burst out laughing.)  For those of you not in-the-know, this is the equivalent of saying "We cover root canals, except if they're done by an oral surgeon.  If you have a root canal done by a manicurist, janitor, or high school principal, we'll totally hook you up."

So my appeal was two fold---providing ample evidence that this treatment is medically necessary and highly beneficial for Maya, and attempting to convince them that an SLP is the most highly qualified provider of this service***.  It was a 45 page appeal, including:  a letter of medical necessity from our pediatrician, a letter of medical necessity from our developmental pediatrician, a letter of medical necessity from our feeding therapist, Maya's first feeding evaluation (at 9 months), Maya's most recent feeding evaluation (at 31 months), a phone call log of all of the discussions that I've had regarding these claims, an Excel spreadsheet of the claims and their pertinent information, 2 documents from 2 different insurance companies that show that they only pay feeding therapy claims to SLPs, 2 research articles that explain why SLPs are the most qualified providers for feeding therapy and explain that their knowledge base is unique and nontransferrable to other types of providers.


It's taken me a few months to gather the appropriate paperwork (we couldn't get a letter from the developmental ped until we had our check-up, which takes a few weeks to schedule, etc).  I didn't realize how much having this thing hanging over me was really affecting me (subconsciously) until it was gone. 

It all goes right back to that learned helplessness stuff that I've talked about before.  It's such a downer to have something that you need to do, when you're powerless to get it done.  My to-do list felt insurmountable when I had this deeply subconscious inner dialogue of "Why bother calling that doctor to schedule an appointment?  You haven't even made a dent with the insurance yet."  or "How can you take the time to respond to emails when you should start typing a call log for the appeal?"

So either I would do smaller things on my list and feel guilty about not making appeal progress, or work on the appeal and watch my apartment get messy, take-out get ordered, and a million little things amass on my daily list and fester.

It's so hard to feel powerless.

And I'm so glad that the appeal is done :)

So now the ball is in their court. 

Be sure to stay tuned for a ridiculous update about how it was denied because they are only able to process appeals that are typed in Times New Roman, or postmarked on a Saturday, or whatever.

 ***As an aside, I'm not fully convinced that it actually is their policy that SLPs are not payable---I feel like they may have just been using that as a deterrent in the system to get me to throw up my hands and give up.  They refused to provide me with the policy in writing, telling me that then I could "just commit insurance fraud."  (How?  I'm not sure.)

I realize this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist, but these people have pushed me right to the edge.  During one call, at 12:27pm the person I had been speaking with said "Ma'am, I'm sorry, I suddenly can't hear you at all---you're breaking up---let me just put you on hold for a minute and then reconnect to see if that helps."  She hung up on me.  When I called back at 12:29 I got a recording: "Thank you for calling.  It is currently our lunch hour.  Please call back after 1:30pm EST.  Thank you." 

Seriously?  It's enough to make anyone go postal.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Winners, a loser, and Twitter

Winners:  Dave, Maya & I had a great weekend :)

1.  Lots of playground time, some dog park time, general happiness and soaking-in-the-sunshine:

I love to climb so high . . . and Daddy's a great spotter. 

 I made it to the top!

Blowin' kisses to Mommy on the ground

We've taken to sitting anywhere.  Right in the middle of the action for a milk break?  No problem.  It's kind of strangely liberating to just sit right down wherever you please.

2.  We went to a birthday party today and Maya got to wear a dress!  Of course, this is not her first time ever wearing a dress, but it kind of was the first time that she really got to wear a dress.  Before, she wore dresses to events that either a) would have her in our arms/in a highchair the whole time (like out to dinner at a restaurant)  or b) would be in a safe enough place that we could tuck the dress into her diaper cover and let her crawl around like that.  But now she's walking!  And she can wear a dress to a party and walk around in it.  Pretty amazing (and pretty adorable, too).

It doesn't get any sweeter than this, does it?

Loser:  Parker did not have the best weekend.

A totally accidental dog park incident left him cut up.  And now until the skin heals he remains banished from the dog park (since I don't want any dirt to get in the wound).  Good news is that it's healing very quickly.  Poor dude.

Ouch.  Parker, by the way, is still obviously crazy about the ramp.


Since the whole Kristi Yamaguchi twitter thing, I've been wondering what the deal is with twitter.  Then someone asked me last week if I'm on twitter.  Truth be told, I'm not even sure if I should be capitalizing Twitter . . . I'm not twitterliterate (twitterate?).  But it got me curious about who reads here and is into Twitter----please take a moment and cast a vote in the new poll (upper left corner).  Thanks!

PS.  If you didn't see the Helen Keller video that I posted on the blog's Facebook page, you have to go check it out.  It's totally amazing and inspiring!

Friday, April 8, 2011

We said we'd walk together, baby, come what may . . . *

This morning I did something crazy  . . . I looked at my wedding pictures.

Why?  Because it's our 5 year anniversary  :)

Oh, you mean why is that crazy?  Because I've never looked at them before.

Although I think it's a typical newlywed thing to excitedly check out the pictures(or at least newly-married-woman thing), we just never got around to looking at our wedding pictures.  Not for any sort of weird reason, it just kind of happened.  Our wedding was a put-together-quickly affair, and between us we had 3 cousins who are professional photographers and took fantastic pictures.  They each gave us cds of their shots, and we didn't have a chance to look at them right away (and we had, after all, just been at the wedding---it was fresh in our minds and we didn't really need reminding of what it looked like).  Then time slipped away and it started to seem funny that we weren't very attached to the pictures, and we would say "maybe on our x anniversary we'll take a look at those pictures."

So 5 years it is :)

And in honor of our 5th anniversary, I invite you to our wedding . . .

The background: 
Dave and I have been together since the tail end of 2004.  At the very end of January 2006 we thought "Hey, the spring is a good time to get married.  Wanna do it this spring?"  and got engaged.  We are low muss, low fuss folks and tried to figure out how to put together a wedding that was us- that would mean not too big, not too fancy, and with as little stress as possible . . . but still a nice party.  And we wanted a quick engagement, so we picked April 8th as our wedding day---less than 3 months away. (I had to spend some time convincing people that no, I was not pregnant, we just didn't see the need for a big engagement.)

The big day:
After my hair appointment, Dave and I got ready at home together.  I had found my wedding dress at Ann Taylor (right off the rack, nice and easy) and his shirt had a hole in it, which he didn't notice until the day of (luckily, it was on the tucked-in part).  We caught a cab downtown and I remember not wanting to have to "make an entrance"  (which is kind of unavoidable if you're the bride and groom) and thinking "Thank goodness I don't have to walk down an aisle."   All-eyes-on-me is not my fave.

We found a great restaurant on the lower west side that I found in a list of "ideal rehearsal dinner spots in Manhattan".  They had a private enclosed terrace area, where we had a cocktail hour prior to the ceremony.  We had a playlist on the ipod in some corner, and hung out with our nearest and dearest . . .

After the cocktail hour, we headed inside to the restaurant's attached, private side room . . .

 . . . which had been given a slight personal (and amusing) touch with blown up black and white pictures.  Over the main table were two of our favorite pictures of us together, and on the side wall were childhood pictures:

Everyone took their seats . . .

(There was a copy of the readings and vows at each seat  . . . you can never hear at these things, and I'm a read-along type of girl)

And looked at the pretty flowers . . .

(I love flowers)

After everyone sat, we stood in the corner of the room with a lovely minister and had a little ceremony . . .

Our readings (done by our siblings) were fantastic.  A Bruce Springsteen song (If I Should Fall Behind), a Bob Dylan song (All I Really Want to Do) and a children's book (Consider Love by Sandra Boynton).   We said our vows  . . .

  . . . and then it was done  :)

Then we got to sit, talk, hug people, mingle,and relax . . .
and celebrate!

Oh, and the cake!  A few weeks before the wedding we walked by an adorable bakery that had fun cakes.  Really fun.  They made us think of Dr. Seuss, and we wanted one :)  We later found out that our cake person had been on those Food Network cake competition shows---it's a lucky thing that we happened to walk down her street, because our cake was adorable (and delicious). . .

So here we are, 5 years later.  A great 5 years, and a great team.  We've walked together, and we've helped each other stay in stride, despite some unexpected turns in our path (this line makes more sense if you listened to the Springsteen song).  Thanks for being a great partner, Dave :)  Happy Anniversary!

PS.  The hands down, absolute best picture on all of the cds was . . .  (drumroll please) . . .

The Elmo was my nephew's . . . the face?  I have no idea.  But this is spectacular.  We should have a caption contest or something.