I decided to start blogging about Jordan from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Jordan was born with a little arm that didn't grow like most babies. Her left arm stopped just above the elbow. Now I'm committed to making sure Jordan gets everything out of life. We feel blessed to be the parents of a very special little girl.


She can eat cake!

Birthday Cake!!!
Originally uploaded by Jen Reeves.
It took a little extra effort, but today Jordan ate her birthday cake. She wasn't interested at first. She was exhausted from all of the fun gift opening. (Her favorite gift: a bucket of blocks) So I sat Jordan into my lap and started eating my own slice. I fed Jordan a couple of bites when she grabbed my fork... And started creating a wonderful mess. Jordan destroyed that slice of cake -- jabbing it, eating a little of it. But mostly, she was taking pieces of the cake and touching it with her little arm or sticking it under her little arm. Why? I don't know. But she had a ton of icing on her sleeve and under her arm. It was strange and sweet and messy and so dang funny. And obviously, she had a BALL. It made all of us smile.


Happy Birthday Jordan!!!!

Today may not have been the most fun of birthdays... We spent the day driving home from Florida. I think we made up for it by going to Disney the day before Jordan's official day. The moment we got there, Jordan was treated like a princess. She was wearing a birthday girl shirt... Someone noticed and told us to go to city hall. So we were able to get Jordan a pin that said: "Happy Birthday Jordan!" Anytime a person who works at Disney noticed that pin, Jordan got cool things: Like stickers or Mickey glitter... Heck we even got an extra "Fast Pass" to the Stitch adventure ride. I remember going to Epcot a couple of times for my birthday was I was in elementary school... But I certainly don't remember getting a pin and getting extra-special treatment from Disney "cast members."

Anyway, Jordan was an awesome Disney World girl. She napped in her stroller, she smiled and waved hi to strangers, she gripped onto me tightly on the Buzz Lightyear ride. And she started picking up words. When we first got there, Cam said the name Goofy, Jordan said: "Goofy." We never got her to say it again, but it was cool for that moment. She did say "Yay!" a bunch of times. But for most of the time, she just smiled, said hi and giggled at her brother. It was pretty awesome. We had a dinner lunch at Disney where Jordan got a cake. The wait staff announced Jordan's birthday and asked everyone to blow her a kiss. It was very sweet. She wasn't very interested in the cake though. I'm guessing it's just because she was tired. But when she licked the icing, she made a big face! We have another cake planned for her at Grandma and Poppy's house, so we'll see what happens.

When we were driving towards home today... I watched the clock and kept thinking moment by moment about what was happening one year ago on this day. At 5:06 we sang "Happy Birthday" in the car to Jordan. She was pretty tired at the time, but seemed to appreciate the song. This picture is one of the many I took while she and I played in the back seat of the van. I can't believe what a sweet and happy girl Jordan has become in the last year. She and I have spent so much time together... As I fed her and watched her grow... As I took her from appointment to appointment... As we learned how to hit every possible milestone in whatever way it took. My big girl is amazing. I've said it many times before, when Jordan was born, Randy and I were at peace with the challenges ahead. But I seriously believe that Jordan can and will do anything. She might have to do it differently, but she is amazing and has found a solution to everything. She is also so flexible and willing to go with the flow. She has dealt with so many therapy appointments, doctor's appointments, family trips and needs... Even loud kids in the baby room. She maintains a happy attitude and a willingness to play and enjoy life. And she LOVES her brother. The one thing that was proven time and time again during our holiday trip was how Jordan LOVES her brother. The way he makes her giggle and how she would play with a piece of dirt if Cam was playing with it first. She loves that boy with all of her heart. Our family is so blessed. The cool part about Jordan's limb difference is how we've been able to meet new families, get to know new communities and have a better understanding about how being "different" is okay. And an amazing benefit to Jordan in our life is how we're learning how being around different people doesn't have to feel different. That may be one of the greatest gifts for all of us. When I think about my family and how lucky I am to be a part of this, I want to cry. I feel blessed and lucky to be the Mom who can guide Cam and Jordan into happy and caring lives.

Happy birthday little girl! I can't wait to see the amazing things you are going to do in the next year.


Get ready... She's almost one!

I'm in shock to be honest with you. My little girl... Who I was so worried about when she came into this world is becoming a self-sufficient, communicating and very happy little girl. She is still very clingy to me, but I have to be honest, I love the attention and love. The greatest development is that she has similar feelings for Daddy since he got back from his latest trip to China. They were napping in the same room this morning when Randy heard: "Hi Dada!" That has to make your heart melt.

Other little things that I've noticed this week: When Jordan sweats, the hair on the back of her neck curls in all kinds of directions. It's sweet. I'm not sure if she'll feel that it's sweet when she's older and trying to control her hair. For now, it's sweet. Another thing: She loves to kiss. She loves to kiss me, her dad, her brother, other family members. She loves to kiss toys... Especially a new teddy bear she got from her uncle. It's HUGE. She loves to roll on it, pull on it... And especially kiss it.

I went shopping today in advance of Jordan's big day. I was suckered into buying this sweet doll that has an outfit that matches. I can't wait to get Jordan into it. Isn't that silly. Heck. I bought a new diaper bag and it is GIRLY. But I love it. I think another wonderful thing Jordan has given me is the acceptance of my inner girl. I'm not ready for these super girly stores that have gotten popular in your local mall. But I'm okay with pink these days.


My merry little girl

Jordan enjoyed her first Christmas... And she proved again and again that her brother is so much cooler than any gift we can give her. Every time we had a present to open, she was more interested in what Cam opened and what he was playing with. It was sweet and funny to watch Cam's aggravation.

Miss Jordan is trying harder and harder to pull up. She's finally taking steps when you hold her arms and guide her across the floor. And man, she loves saying: "HI!" It's been so fun to watch her grow in the last week. She amazes me by the minute how grown up she is these days. My baby... Isn't really a baby. And an amazing development... Jordan loves and I mean LOVES talking on her Elmo cell phone. I have no idea where she learned that! (ha ha)

We're getting ready for Jordan's big birthday. To think a year ago on this day I was feeling very certain Jordan was coming soon... And man was I uncomfortable! She was worth all of that and more.


Working so hard

Jordan had to run off to school early with her brother the last two mornings because I've been leading the morning meeting in the newsroom... And that means scurrying the kids to school right after they wake up. It's no fun for any of us... And I miss my mornings with Jordan. She's been a trooper... I gave her a bottle the last two mornings and she didn't care at all. I did get out of work early enough today for Jordan to work with her physical therapist... And Jordan showed off how hard we've been working on her ability to stand and attempts to pull up. Afterwards, Jordan scooted all over the basement looking for ways to pull up and stand. Our best options right now (other than her cool cube toy) are the stairs and full clothes baskets. Lucky for Jordan, we have stairs on two floors and there seems to be a full basket everywhere as well.

I'm exhausted. All this work, kids and holiday preparation is just a bit much. I'm trying to get some laundry done and get to bed at a normal hour. I can only hope I can pull that off.


Bulging gums

I'm wrapping presents tonight. I was tired of doing that so I thought I'd drop a few thoughts about Jordan's life. I know Jordan isn't really one to complain... I mean her first teeth showed up with no change in her personality. But I keep thinking about teeth when I'm around her because her upper gum line is SO swollen. I wonder when all of her teeth will decide to pop through. Her front teeth not only have caused swelling, but there are now two lumps where they'll eventually show up. The funny thing is how she's not waking up in the middle of the night to complain. As usual, she's not drooling. She's kind of cranky when she doesn't get her way, but that just comes with the age.

What am I babbling about? I don't know. I guess I'm giving fair warning for some announcement about how all of her remaining teeth arrived in one week. Mind you, she only has two teeth at this point.

Another issue to think about. The pants Jordan wore today were almost black on her bottom. She scooted on my recently swept floor, the newsroom AND the damp ground in our backyard (it was a really warm day). I don't know what to do except just buy cheap pants because if she continues to scoot, there's nothing I can do but wash in hot water and deal.

We went to the mall today. Dumb I know, but I had to get gifts for a few more people. I strolled around with Cam and Jordan and we actually had a pretty good time in the crowds. Cam was great and Jordan kept it together with the help of a few diversions from her tickle-monster brother (he likes to tickle her face and she thinks it's SOOO FUNNY). When I go out in public with Jordan now I don't look for stares I'm happy to present her and I offer no excuses or reasons because Jordan is who Jordan is. She was cooed over in so many stores. It's the sparkling smile... and swollen gums. Anyway, I caught a couple of stares from kids here and there, they were slight and not offending in any way. But it was funny to notice a few and not take offense, not worry about it... it's just the way things are. I'm SO glad I'm cool taking Jordan anywhere. I'm not patting my back, I just feel like it's still an accomplishment to have grown so much in the last year with my little girl. I'm so much less self-conscious about my life, my family... We are who we are. And if you want to get to know us, go right ahead!! We don't bite.

I'm still looking for the shirt: "You stare because I'm different. I stare because you're all alike."

More technology playing

Jordan slept really late today! I attended the honors convocation for a student of mine this morning... Jordan slept an hour past the time I left this morning. I'm so glad I decided to not wake her to feed her. This may be the first step towards saying good bye one more mommy feeding.

Anyway, I'm playing with a technology called Flash. It isn't a new technology per se, but I'm finally starting to figure it out. So visit this page and see what I've been able to do with pictures of the kids. It takes a little time to download, so take that as fair warning. When I really figure things out, I'll embed it on this site instead of linking to it. But all that takes is some code that I don't know yet. But I can make a slideshow of the kids and I'm thrilled with that!


Time is ticking

The holidays are roaring into my calendar and I feel totally lost. I have a ton of wrapping, packing, mailing, sorting, cooking... everything to do. But I have to clean my house. It's terrible and it's starting to bother me. It doesn't help that our backyard is muddy and the dogs keep tracking mud into the house. It really doesn't help that Jordan scoots on her butt and nomatter how I try to sweep and clean, her butt is always dirty looking from being my own personal Swiffer broom. Tonight I couldn't take it any longer and threw the pug into the bathtub. Hopefully that will help my nose buds from falling off everytime he tries to sit on my lap. The big dog is a lost cause.

I can't over emphasize how Jordan has turned into a toddler in the last week. She is arching her back and getting mad when I pick her up sometimes. When she WANTS something, she really wants it bad and she's not afraid to scream or yell for it. She really wants food and she's going to wave her hand around it in a similar fashion to the sign I made up for her that means "More!" She is obsessing over a toy that lets you put magnet letters into it. When it fits perfectly, you press down on the letter and it plays a song about that letter and tells you the sound it makes. Jordan loves it when she gets the magnet to fit. But she gets very upset if she can't make it work fast enough. She'll actually throw a magnet to the side and pick up a different one if it takes too long to work. I'm guessing she's assuming that the letter must be broken and the next one might fit better. It's amazing to watch. And exhausting to think about the next stage we're heading into.


Baby's first stage performance

Jordan got to perform in her school's Nutcracker show... And she was sweet and happy and waved at the crowd at the end of the show. My camera didn't do a good job capturing her very brisk time on the stage. But she got to sit in the front of the sage at the end of the show... And she smiled and clapped and waved. It was very sweet.

She did such a great job at the show and even smiled a ton while we went out for ice cream afterwards. It was a fun night!

By the way, Jordan was wearing her baptism dress as part of her costume tonight. I can't believe she still fits in that... And it still fit with her wearing a shirt under it. Crazy.


New trick

Today, I found out that Jordan drank her own bottle at school! I was thrilled to hear this, and decided I'd try to push those lessons further with travel sippy cups. I've read on some limb difference boards that those cups are the easiest for one-handed kids because they're so light weight. Apparently, that advice might be true. Jordan grabbed the top of the cup and then pushed the cup up with her little arm. SO freaking cool.

Tomorrow the girl and her brother perform in their school's yearly Nutcracker performance. Jordan will play the role of a snowflake and I'm not quite sure what Cam is going to be -- something that requires dancing in a circle. I'll let you know tomorrow.


Breaking news

When Randy and I weren't looking, Jordan pulled up into standing all by herself onto a big block toy. This is a picture of the toy. I bought it for Cam when he was little... And he never really took a serious liking to it. But Jordan digs it... And here's a funny thing: Cameron really likes it a lot now that he's 4 and a half. Anyway. Jordan pulled up so she could look inside the square compartment. Big freaking deal. Then Randy thinks Jordan tried to take a step to me. But I think he was seeing things.

Either way. The girl is rapidly figuring things out. I'm thrilled and I'm really happy I've found a toy that she can use to pull up and keep practicing the skill.

The holidays are here

After the big storm, we've been delayed on decorating... But yesterday we turned on the holiday music, put up the tree and turned on all kinds of lights outside in the front yard. Jordan seemed to have a lot of fun pulling ornaments off the tree. She won't keep a santa hat on... But I caught this picture at the right moment.

I've been getting nostalgic about Jordan since her birthday is coming up soon. For some reason, her first birthday feels like a huge accomplishment... But in a different way from Cam's. I think it's because I know what happens after the first year... She's days or weeks away from becoming an official toddler. She's already growing a personality that fits a toddler: She knows what she wants, but she doesn't always know how to explain it beyond grunts and whines.

Then there's the standing... She's trying so hard to stand up. Almost every time she's on the floor these days she plants her feet and sticks her butt in the air. We just have to get her to improve her pulling up skills. Balance? She has some of it. It's a process that we'll just keep working on day after day.


Quick update

Every night I have a little time to prepare pictures or write something about the kids online. Obviously I haven't done as much of that lately. Why? I'm trying to figure out the right way to save the almost 8,000 pictures I've taken in the last couple of years. If you visit our Flickr site, you'll notice I've posted more than 2,000 pictures... And those aren't even all of the pictures I've taken this past year. Scary, huh? So my computer is full. It's really full. So I've been spending all of my time moving folder after folder of pictures into an external hard drive. Thanks to black friday sales, I bought a second external hard drive that I plan to use to mirror the original external hard drive. Why all the fuss? I tried to save old pictures of Cam when Jordan was born into an external drive... And it crashed. I have video and images stuck in that drive that I may never be able to recover. It crushes me to even think about it. So this time I'm going to be extra careful.

As for Miss Jordan, she's doing well. Our therapist wants her to be challenged to reach for toys, so everything needs to be a couch level for her. That's tricky. But she has the needed body strength to stand and walk, we just have to encourage Jordan to actually do it. So we're working hard on that. And even though it's hard to watch, it's a great sign when Jordan gets aggravated after falling down or angry because she can't reach something. The angrier she gets, the more she's going to want to learn this next crucial milestone. Other signs she's getting bigger: Food. She wants everything and anything that anyone else is eating. Last night she was saying good night to her dad when she noticed he had a slice of pizza. She waved good bye... But immediately started grunting for that slice. Did I mention she LOVES pizza. The picture above says that. I think I'm a lot braver with messy food with Jordan. Cameron missed out on that. Randy thinks I'm crazy, but I think it's cute... Until clean up time.


Baby's first snow

Snow Bunny
Originally uploaded by Jen Reeves.
Man, the snow that hit our part of the country has kept me very, very busy. So I'm finally going to catch you up on Jordan's many adventures in the past many days.

First, we had a lot of snow. Way more than our town can handle. So on the first day after the snow, i was in the newsroom for most of the day. Jordan got to hang out with her Dad and brother.... longer than she's ever done before. And she handled it pretty darn well. I went 24 hours without a baby feeding and I didn't wake up the next morning wanting to die of physical pain. So that was a good sign as we get closer to weaning.

Second, when Jordan went out in the snow, she was amazed, scared and then thrilled by it all. She was amazed when I plopped her on the sled. When I put Jordan on the snow, she was not happy, it scared her -- or it was cold. I don't know which. But after I picked her up and she realized snow is tasty. She wanted to return to the fun after we went inside.

While we were mainly homebound, Jordan was really working hard on pulling up!! Sunday she made big progress: She was trying really hard to reach me on the stairs, so she pulled up to her feet -- her butt high in the air. It didn't last long and when she fell down, her Dad and I cheered!!!! Big progress.

She's also scooting everywhere and I'm getting nervous. I have to get some gates put up. I was going to put a gate up or block off the one step down to the living room -- but Jordan has already figured out how to get into that room on her own. Once she's in there, she can't get out (the world's largest play pen). So I can cross that step off my list of worries.

Today I had a mini-freakout about Jordan. I was reading a little note sent home to Jordan's classroom parents about the kids and the new month. In it, her teachers wrote how Jordan's birthday is coming up. And it hit me: 12 months is when everything changes. And honestly, it already is. She's becoming more demanding of my attention, of food... of toys she MUST play with (or the remote control). I'm trying as hard as I can to help her use more sign language to help her not get so upset. It's hard when you want words, but you don't have them yet!