Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Maya! (A primarily pictorial post)

Welcome to Maya's 3rd Birthday Party :)

It's not weird that these giant cardboard animals will possibly become permanent fixtures, right?

Maya emerges from naptime, all dolled up, to find both sets of grandparents here and balloons everywhere!

Daddy, did you see this tiger?!?  He's HUGE!!!

I think this party is going to be super fun!

This is her response to "How old are you, Maya?".  She tries to hold up 3 fingers (by making the "OK" sign with her hand).  And doesn't she look like a little doll?!  Everytime she sat the skirt poofed around her perfectly :)

Balloons are super fun---especially when an older friend will gather them for you!

It's a little scary when 30 people start singing . . .

Maya, you wish and we'll blow, ok?

After most of the guests left, we were back to just us + the grandparents, and we opened some presents----she was a very lucky girl and got some great things . . .

 . . . like her very own umbrella!
All in all, a fabulous day!  Thanks to everyone who came, and to everyone who sent Miss Maya birthday wishes!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A little bit of birthday

I'm wiped out.  Maya is wiped out.  But it was a good day :)

We got shockingly few pictures, but here are a few tiny glimpses (more to come when I'm not as tired):

If you're just dying for more birthday, go check out last year's party, here and then here

Or take a look back at her first party ever :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Twas the night before . . .

the birthday bash, and all through the apartment . . .
Every single thing was cleaned and in the appropriate compartment.

That's all the poetry you're getting.  Sorry to disappoint.

I've been cleaning and organizing all week.  All week!  And that's not an exaggeration.  It's like we've finally moved in to this apartment, for real.  The "garage" room has become a perfectly usable playroom/office/guest room.  Dave's office is functional.  It's really, really nice :)

Most of the cleaning was done as of yesterday so that today could be spent doing the shopping and as much  food prep as possible---I really want to be able to enjoy tomorrow, and not to feel so busy that I miss the day.   Although Maya's real birthday is Monday, she thinks tomorrow is the big day, and basically, it is.

Dave has been a big help---he's been taking Maya out to the playground so that I can work in peace.  Today he also tried to help by making a pot of coffee for me.  Despite explaining to him the new bean-grinding system (the grinder button bent and requires a special manuever) he thought he could figure out a "better way".

His "better way" caused a coffee explosion, which caused me (and every exposed surface) to get pelted with an onslaught of projectile beans.  I had put a cake into the oven mere seconds before----I would have flipped out if it had become coffee-bean-filled.

After Maya woke up we agreed that the best way to help would be to just leave and let me work :)

In other news, Maya received a totally sweet (and simultaneously totally creepy) gift from a lovely family who reads the blog, and who I then "met" on a message board.  Thanks to Laura & Harmony (from The Wagner Three) for the fabulous vulture puppet!

Yeah, a vulture puppet.

It's actually so weird looking that I thought Maya might not recognize it as a vulture . . . but oh no, she loves it!

I love this new vulture!

I push him in the stroller and read him this book.

 Vulture, you make me laugh!

A kiss for my new friend :)

I'm so excited for her birthday tomorrow!  We'll be up early to decorate :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

You've got questions, I've got (some) answers . . .

A little while ago I welcomed any questions that you all might have, and I got a bunch.  Since I've been spending all of my "free" time this week cleaning and decluttering (which is paying off big time) answering some questions seems like an easy post :)

(Edited to add that I made it halfway through the question list I have---so this will be part one of two.  Or, if I get more questions then I'll make this an occasionally regular thing.)

1. How did you pick Maya's name?

This is an easy one :)  Way back when I was pregnant I belonged to a "due date club" message board (all ladies due in May 2008).  Someone joked that one of us should name our baby girl Maya, since the word "May" was right there in the name . . . and I kind of chuckled and then thought "Wait.  I like that name!".   It  seemed easy to read (and pronounce, cross-culturally).  It fit everywhere---I could imagine Mayas of many ethnicities, and it had many diverse and lovely meanings, with different cultures all laying claim to it.

I mentioned it to Dave, he liked it too, and it quickly became our top girl name, back when I was only a few months along.  Her middle name, Grace, was just something that I liked . . . plus it made her first 2 initials "MG" which happen to be my mom & dad's initials, and I like that too.

As a funny side note, our second place girl's name was Harper.  We went into the hospital thinking that if she was a girl she would probably be Maya, unless she seemed more like a Harper (I don't really know what that means, but I felt it was important to have a choice).  After the birth, Maya was taken into another room in the hospital to be suctioned and Dave followed her.  As my midwife was fixing me up she said to me "Does she have a name?", to which I replied "I think so, but I need to double check with Dave."  About a second later a nurse came in and said "Maya looks great!" and I laughed and said "Yeah, I guess she's got a name" :)

2. Do you miss teaching?

I do.  I miss sharing my science nerdy enthusiam, and my general love of learning.  I miss getting to interact with so many kids, and hopefully encouraging them to enjoy learning academic stuff and character stuff, too.  I also selfishly miss it because I thought I was pretty good at it, and there's that level of satisfaction that comes with a job well done . . . but I just don't have the time to do it well, not any time soon.  At least Dave sometimes lets me help him brainstorm lesson stuff.

3. What do you do for YOU time?

You time?  What's that? :)

I have a support group that I go to (once or twice a month).  I belong to a fun book club :)  Dave is an amazing husband and dad and loves spending time with Maya, so sometimes he'll just take her to the playground while I do come cleaning (really, I love getting things organized and away) or read a book.  I play Scrabble on Facebook.  This blog actually takes a fair amount of time, so I think it counts as my #1 "hobby" . . . although I still can't bring myself to say "I'm a blogger".  That sounds so official!  I sometimes say "I have a blog", which sounds more casual, I think.  Like the difference between "I am a seamstress" and "I sew some stuff".

4.  I follow you on Facebook as well.  Are you able to see the profiles of people who follow you on Facebook?  And, if so, do you ever check out our profiles?

This question literally made me laugh out loud, so thanks for that!  I just envisioned myself in a dark room, late at night, lit up only by the glow of the laptop as I cyberstalked my Facebook followers :)

Ok, seriously now, first of all---thanks for following on Facebook!  It gives me an idea of how many people are out there reading, and that's really nice to see.  Second, no, I can't see anything about your profile.  Following my blog on FB is just "liking" the blog page----since you're not actually befriending me, I only have the same access to your page as any other stranger (so if your page was public, I would theoretically be able to see it, but if you have any privacy settings on, I wouldn't).     Sometimes if people comment on my blog and their comment links to their own (public) blog I'll go and check it out, but that's as far as I go in terms of hunting down readers :)

5. What about a diagnosis?

I received several questions about the whole lack-of-diagnosis issue.  "How do you handle not having a clear diagnosis?"  "Are you making any progress towards getting a diagnosis?"  "Do you have any additional thoughts on not having a diagnosis, and therefore a clearer prognosis?" etc.

Really, I haven't been thinking about it much at all lately.  There's only so much space in my mind, and since this issue will likely be around for a while I've just kind of stuck it on a back shelf, to be pulled out later.  I'm sure that it will be pulled out later.  But not now . . . now, with steps being taken and sounds being made, a birthday on the horizon and a summer of running (speed walking?  speed hobbling?) in the grass and sprinklers . . .well, it just seems like, who cares?  You know?

Thanks for the questions :)

Only 3 days until the big birthday bash!  (Or small birthday open house.  Potato po-tah-to.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2 types of vultures and an impending party

Vulture #1:  Literally, a vulture.

See that guy?  He comes with the Fisher Price zoo animals set---each letter has a corresponding animal.  (V is for vulture.)

He also happens to be Maya's favorite animal, for at least the past week.  Today was her 3 year pediatrician appointment, and when the doc walked into the room she proudly held it up and declared "Ehh!!!" 

And so he said "Well, look at that!  Are you showing me your . . . errr . . . "  

So I volunteered "Her vulture.  It's her vulture."  

(It's semi-embarassing and really funny at the same time.  Forget the koala, the penguin, the quail . . . I'm just going to show off this kind-of-ugly-carcass-eating-bird.)

Vulture(s) #2: The insurance people.
I decided to call and check on the progress of my appeal.  I'm waiting to get the verdict in writing before totally losing my mind, but it looks like they are going to deny the appeal based on upholding their position that SLPs are not qualified providers of feeding therapy.  This is ridiculous on every level.  I'm not going to quit. 

Side note one:  Just finding out that it was denied was a 47 minute, 3 phone call process.  The first rep "accidentally" disconnected me.  The second rep tried to find the information and mumbled to herself for 20 minutes before "transferring me to the appeals department, where they would have more information"----but she just transferred me back to the main menu, where I started again.  The third rep told me there's no such place as "the appeals department" but then was semi-helpful.

Side note two: When I type "I'm not going to quit" it looks resolute and determined. Which I am. But when I hung up the phone with the 3rd rep, I turned Elmo on for Maya and sat at the table and cried. It is just infuriating to be so powerless to help fix my situation. I'm doing everything I know to do, I speak intelligently, calmly and forcefully, and it is literally impossible to get anywhere. As angry as I am for me, I'm also angry for the people who are less educated, speak english as a second language, don't have the time to fight, etc. Insurance companies just suck the money right out of them. They're definitely vultures.

In other news . . .

The party prep continues!  Look what Maya helped to make during therapy today . . .

She made the balloons---the cake at the bottom is a wooden sign . . . there's a little heart that says "Maya" that goes in the cake, but I'm still looking for it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A fair and ornithology

Our day, pre-nap, during nap, and post-nap.

This morning we went to a fair.  They had toys for sale, games, prizes, balloons, etc.  Maya was in heaven!

Well, she was in heaven because she got to wander around a parking lot.  Not because of the activities.  She just likes to wander, wander, walk in a circle, sit for a minute, walk, amble, wander, etc.

Oh yeah, and she found some leaves.  And a few piles of dirt.  Doesn't take much to entertain her. 

During naptime I snuck a picture of Mama Pigeon.  (Any name suggestions?  Mama Pigeon isn't working for me.)

After her nap, Maya & I went to the playground, and then the park---where she got to run in a field of grass and dirt. 

And then she saw a bird of her own . . . and went "running" as fast as her legs could carry her!

I'm coming to get you, birdie!

(That says "Running".  Can you tell it's my first time using the paint program?)

Ack!  Don't you fly away!!! (foiled again!)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Just a typical Friday night

It's Friday night, and Maya is tucked in snugly in her crib.  After Dave & I have dinner we're just getting a few random things done.  Parker's dog food container is empty so Dave heads onto the terrace to refill it from our giant green tupperware dog food tub.  About half a second later he reappears in the living room looking shocked.

Me:  What?

Dave:  You're not going to believe this.  I pulled out the tub (we keep it in the bottom shelf of this industrial shelving thing, filled with random pet supplies) and I swear, a bird flew out and went right between my legs! 

Me:  Flew out from where?

Dave: I don't know!  Somewhere!  How could I know where!?!?

Me: What kind of bird?

Dave: Are you kidding?!  A bird just flew out of nowhere and went right between my legs!!!  You think I know what type of bird it was?!?!?!?!

Me (standing up and walking outside): There's been a pigeon cooing out here on and off all week.  I bet there's a nest.

So we're both outside, looking for a nest.  Baby pigeons happen to be the weirdest looking birds ever (I raised some of them when I worked/lived at a wildlife hospital years ago) so I was kind of psyched that we might have some.  But they're noisy critters and despite rattling things around, we couldn't hear anything. 

I shrugged and turned to go back inside.  Dave bent over to get the dog food and said "There are eggs!"  So I went to get the camera.  I told him to do a dramatic reenactment of the moment the bird flew out.

No, dude.  That's "the fish was this big!".  Try again.

Whoa!  A bird!?!
The dog food tub.  Can you see the eggs?

They were wayyyy back under the tarp!
While we were outside checking it out, Mama Pigeon flew back over and landed on the terrace below.  She was checking us out.

This was how it all went back together.

Dave insists that this weird stuff only happens to because I live here.  Animals are just drawn in :)  (This makes more sense if you know that I was a zoology major, a science teacher, and a general animal behavior nerd.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's (almost) party time

It's almost birthday party time!  Maya will turn 3 on May 30 (Memorial Day, this year) and we're going to have a little party the day before. Somehow it snuck up on me . . . we're a week and a half away and I still have to order, um, everything (paper goods, decorations, etc).  I'm also furiously spring cleaning (which is why I haven't had as much time to blog), and I've decided to repaint all of the doors & moulding, too, so I'm scrubbing and taping:

Is it weird that I like the way the tape looks?  It's like racing stripes.

But we have done some prep.  Take a look at Maya's adorable party outfit:

It's a jungle/safari theme---how great are those zebra stripes?!

Also, if you're planning a party, it helps to have a really generous friend who is the Birthday Party Queen . . . she may just ship you her leftover giant cardboard animals. 

Yeah, you read that correctly.

That's my scary tiger face.  It's really hard not to growl when you're next to a giant cat.

See what I mean? Not even Parker could resist.  Although his scary face leaves something to be desired.

Other upcoming stuff:  Follow-up cardiology appt-this week, 3 yr pediatrician check-next week, then birthday bash, then my 10 yr college reunion, and then Maya's ABR-June 7.