Alena Abigail – One Year Old

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Baby girl is one year old today! She is such a gift. It’s been a challenging year in many ways, and also such a wonderful and memorable one! At the end of this first year we have a loving, proud big brother, a bright-eyed, energetic baby girl, and two extremely exhausted parents. But we wouldn’t trade our lives for any other!

Alena is growing and changing rapidly, so this post will be a small snapshot of this moment in time. What can I tell you about our girl? She is full of energy! This girl is always busy and rarely still. She is also full of personality! She has strong opinions and feels very free to share them. She seems to have big emotions like her brother–lots of happy squeals and laughter and cuddles and lots of loud protests. Buckle up!

Alena loves to be out and about. If she sees anyone getting coats and shoes on, she rushes over to the door. If we ask her if she wants to go outside, she starts clapping. On any given day if she’s fussy at home, she will cheer up outside or running errands. She likes to look at people and animals and likes to check out new places. She is usually pretty friendly and will even hold out her arms and go to a stranger on occasion. She currently loves squirrels and has lots of fun watching them run around in our yard. She laughs and squeals if they peak at her around a tree trunk. Lucas used to call them “mermals” and for now, Alena calls them “pwe”. She seems to feel that one syllable is enough for most objects. (I am “Mum”, Lucas is “Baa” and Jaime is “Gah.” The only two syllable word she currently employs is “baby.”)

Heading out for a walk!

Alena detests diaper changes and likes to make it as impossible for me as she can. As soon as I lay her down she begins twisting and turning and crawling away. If I manage to pin her down she lets me know loudly that she doesn’t approve.

Alena is a climber! She started climbing around eight months old and hasn’t slowed down. If I turn my back for a second she’ll be on the low window sills in our front room, on the top of the slide in the basement, half way out of the baby tub, or in some precarious position on the stairs. She even tries to climb out of her learning stool onto the kitchen counter.

Although “Mum” is still her favorite, Alena adores Lucas and Jaime. She tries to be as close to Lucas as possible and do whatever he is doing. She does her very best to keep up with him! She watches him intently and copies what he’s doing. Much to Jaime’s delight, after watching Lucas, she has figured out that soccer balls are for kicking and has already started her training.

Working on some skills

Lucas is usually very tolerant of Alena grabbing for all his toys and pushing her way into his space. They have a special bond and she’s a lucky girl to have such a great big brother!

Alena sprints to the door when Jaime gets home from work each evening (or nowadays walks up the stairs from his basement work station). She loves to catch a ride up on his shoulders and likes to play games with him like pulling off his hat or knocking down the towers he builds. She also loves to cuddle up with Daddy at night.

Cuddle buddies

Alena’s current favorites:

Food: Macaroni and Cheese

Book: This is a three way tie between Peek A Who?, First 100 Animals, and Who’s Wearing a Hat, is it the Orange Cat?

Color: She often chooses orange just like Lucas did! We’ll see if that sticks. It would be mighty convenient since we already have all things orange!

Animal: She loves squirrels, and much to Lucas’s delight, she also adores all his toy cats and any cat that pops up in a book.

Yay kitties!

Here are month by month photos from the year:

Even though a year has passed, having Alena still feels like a dream sometimes. Thankfully it’s a dream we won’t have to wake from! There isn’t much danger of actual dreaming anyway, as she barely lets us sleep. 😉

Happy birthday sweet baby girl! We all love you far more than words could ever express.

Happy New Year! (Two Months Late)

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Happy New Year! I realize it’s March but it’s the first blog post of the new year and better late than never, right? Kind of my philosophy in life if I’m being honest. Anyway, I hope your 2020 is off to a great start!
The new year started off with more good news!  Betsy has another follow up appointment with her pulmonary specialist on January 3. Her FEV1 was up again, this time to 43! That’s a 14 point gain and is nearly up to the same level as when Betsy started this blog. Nobody really new how much of an effect the Trikafta would have on her FEV1. There hadn’t been any patients in the test groups with starting FEV1 scores as low as Betsy’s. Needless to say she was thrilled. The doctor was even cautiously optimistic that she could still see more improvement, especially after she is able to resume consistent exercise.

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Alena is a big fan of trikafta

Even more than the breathing test score itself, the change in Betsy’s day-to-day life is more than evident. Coughing for hours on end to start the day is a thing of the past. Betsy has been bound and determined to reclaim some of the household duties. She has implemented a new laundry system and, amazingly, we now retrieve clean clothes from our drawers rather than the laundry basket. Betsy and I are back to sharing the grocery shopping and the cooking! Last weekend, we had been toying with the idea of moving a desk up from the basement for Lucas to use. We’d get to it later, I thought. I had to run out briefly and in the 20 minutes that I was gone, she managed to carry up a desk from the basement and rearrange the furniture in the dining room. This is the kind of shenanigans Betsy would have attempted on a regular basis ten years ago. The “just do it” part of her personality had been suppressed for a long time out of necessity. No longer.

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The desk. In its new home.

In other news, Alena continues to give us a run for our money! I can’t even believe I’m writing this but she will be one year old in just two weeks! She’s been trying to walk for about five months now. One of her favorite activities is grabbing the hands of whoever is closest and dragging them around the house! But just prior to her ten month birthday, she started taking solo steps and now she walks unassisted whenever the mood strikes. Alena is starting to talk as well. She says “mum” quite clearly and intentionally. Not sure where she got the British accent but there you go. She calls Lucas “baa” and if she wants to be in your arms she’ll say “up”. Nothing resembling “dadda” as yet. She calls the much beloved squirrels she sees out and about “pwa” and any human being, regardless of age, is “baby.” Alena’s sleep has been super irregular, but she’s awfully cute so we’ll call it even.

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Our almost one year old!

Lucas is really enjoying second grade. He loves his teacher and has some of his best friends from school in his class. He’s a great big brother. He loves to make Alena laugh. He’s (almost) always willing to give her one of his toys or share the iPad. The other day I was trying to get dinner ready and had stuck her in the pack ‘n play. Alena found this arrangement to be suboptimal and was voicing her opinion. So Lucas climbed in with her and started to play with her. He’s also become a very big Star Wars fan over the last few months. He watched all eight movies in the lead up to the holidays just in time for us to see The Rise of Skywalker in the theater. Now he spends his free time making up his own Star Wars movies. I’m hoping one day he’ll sell the rights to his namesake George (Lucas) and use the proceeds to fund my retirement.

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Siblings ❤

Well, only a short time until spring now! I’m looking forward to the warmer days and being outside. I’m also subconsciously preparing myself for all of the plans that Trikafta Betsy will undoubtedly have in mind for us to do. 😉 It’s going to be a great spring!

All About Alena

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It’s been 12 days since our little girl made her appearance! I thought I would tell you a little bit about her so far. I’d like to come back to the blog soon and write about my pregnancy and her birth, but for now I’ll just give you a few details about her and share some of my favorite pictures.

Her name:

Alena Abigail. Alena is pronounced a-lay-na. It means “bright, shining light.” Abigail means “source of joy.”

Alena’s likes:

This girl loves to eat! She cluster feeds, sometimes for hours at a time. But then she’ll take a good long snooze, so I’d say it’s a fair exchange.

The bouncy seat! This is very similar to big brother Lucas, and she even turns her head to the right, just like he did. She likes to sleep in there and will hang out there when she’s awake as well.

Mommy is her favorite for obvious reasons. Lucas is quite sure he’s her second favorite with Jaime bringing up the rear. I’d say there’s a tie for second 🙂

Alena likes getting her hair washed! I think she appreciates a good scalp massage.

She likes snuggles and kisses. It’s a good thing, because none of the three of us can stop kissing her and holding her.

She likes her hands up by her face and sometimes sucks on her fingers or fist.

Alena’s dislikes:

Diaper changes! I mean, they really are the worst. She does not like being cold.

She likes getting her hair washed, but hates getting the rest of her body washed.

She does not appreciate being passed around when she’s found a cozy spot.

Recognizable features:

Alena has a full head of blackish brown hair. I’m sure you can guess where that comes from!

Her eyes, nose, and cheeks look a lot like big brother Lucas’s.

She has very long fingers and very long toes. They look just like mine.

Clues to her personally:

Alena will let us know very loudly if she’s upset. However, when she’s done expressing herself (and we’ve rectified the issue) she’s able to calm her self down and be content without much intervention from us.

She seems a bit more laid back and independent than her brother…at least for now!

She’s also more flexible and will sleep in a variety of places and nurse or take a bottle. Yay!

She’s a tough little one. She had jaundice and endured what seemed like countless heal pricks. If she was being held when they poked her, she didn’t cry. If they put her on a table she cried but would stop immediately when back in our arms.

Lucas is a loving, doting big brother. He’s eager to help and showers her with affection. It’s so sweet! It’ll be fun to see how their relationship develops over time. Alena stares intently at him, I’m guessing because of the contrast of his dark, dark eyes. He was the first to get a smile and although I’m sure it was involuntary, he felt pretty proud.

Jaime and I are doing well too, and adjusting to our life as a family of four! We feel so blessed and thankful for this precious new baby. To God be the glory, great things He has done!