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.


Home again

After two and a half weeks, it's good to be home. Our dogs are acting shell shocked... Like we'd never come home again.

I got the kids unpacked, the refrigerator is cleaned out and I even got to the grocery store to restock. Heck, I saw a student there and gave him a pep talk. Now I'm just trying to get my bearings. Back to life, back to prosthetics on a more regular basis, back to therapy... And in three weeks, Cam heads off to elementary school! It's mind bending. Jordan will get to really settle into her new room -- the 18-24 month old room. I think all of the playing and chattering that she's developed over our vacation is a HUGE deal. She's going to have a ball.

Reading on the road

We had a rough start to the day... Probably because we drove WAY too long yesterday. There's some kind of motorycle event north of Columbus so we drove further than expected for a hotel. But we got one, slept in and got breakfast. We probably have 8 more hours and many movies to watch. I'm glad I convinced the kids to start the day reading. Once you turn on the movies, the reading stops. Until Jordan can self-entertain better, I'm not going to let that worry me.


Pennsylvania doesn't end

We're trying tomake it all the way across Pennsylvania. It's taking a while but the kids are keeping busy. Jordan keeps putting herself to "bed" by covering herself up with her blanket saying "night night." Cam is high on PB&J and Twizlers. I let him buy a package during our last bathroom stop. Silly permissive Mommy. We plan to stop in Ohio tonight.

On the road!

We've made it through a very strong rainstorm in Connecticut. We said our big goodbyes to my parents and the beautiful coast of Maine. Jordan already took one nap. We're talking Cam into taking one right now. Only six to eight more hours of driving to go for the day!


I guess it's time to go home

We are mostly packed up and ready to go... We have two days of 12 hour driving to make it back in time for work on Monday. I kind of feel like the stars and moon aligned properly to send us off the right way -- look at that picture. The moon came out with all its glory to glow onto the cove tonight. It's a peaceful view from our porch.

I hope things will be peaceful in the van as we drive home!

One moment to note from today. Jordan is starting to figure out this jealousy thing. She can't STAND it when I am cuddling with Cam. But it goes deeper than that. Cam was coming out from his room while Jordan was sitting next to me on the couch. When she noticed him coming down the stairs, she immediately climbed up on top of me and cuddled into my chest. She was laying there just staring at her brother. She wanted to get his goat. Oh man. Let the mind games begin. Or they've been going on and I've just started catching on.


Pie, lobster and the beach

We've continued this non-stop vacation with non-stop trips. After visiting the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens yesterday, we took the kids to eat at one of the best diners in the country: Moody's Diner. We got their famous 4-berry pie. We even bought a slice for Jordan She'll eat it ONLY if disguised in vanilla ice cream. It was strange, but I was happy to see her try it no matter what. Cam opted for the standard slice of chocolate cake. Oh well. I cooked up my famous scallop dinner. Cam wasn't interested at all, but Jordan took a few bites before throwing it to the floor. She's really into throwing food lately. She mainly throws because she only wants to eat one food type at a time. So if she's eating a hot dog, she'll throw the bun so she can eat the bread. If she eats the bread first, she'll throw the hot dog. If I catch the food first, she'll probably eat what I salvaged, but not until she's done with the first food. You just never know. After a while, she just throws everthing. She throws before she says "all done." By the way, Jordan's "all done" is "no no" in a sing songy "all done" manner.

Today we let Jordan take a good morning nap before we drove off to one of our favorite sandy beaches along the Maine Coast: Reid State Park. I was pretty surprised by Jordan's reaction to it all. After I put her into the water where a little surf was lapping our legs, she screamed. Randy thinks she freaked because the water was so cold. I'm just not sure if she trusts water that moves like that. Either way, we didn't really get into the water very deep. She did enjoy a bit of time in the water jetty nearby. Her brother had a BLAST jumping and running through the frigid cold waves. He's getting braver by the moment. When Cam invited Jordan to join him in the water. She gave him a solid: "No." I almost fell onto the sand from laughing so hard.

Tonight we had our annual home cooked lobster meal. Jordan and Cam got to see the lobsters before they went into the big cooking pot. Cam is still very scared of the hard shelled guys. Jordan wasn't phased at all. She just checked out those guys until she got annoyed with just sitting there.

Speaking of annoyed. The brother/sister dynamic is becoming a lot clearer in this time away from home. Jordan is growing so fast right now. She even said "lobster!" These cool developments in her personality has us zeroing in on her... It's exciting to see her become her own person. But Cam is seriously jealous. He admited to me that he feels left out sometimes. It's one of the hardest parts of growing up. Jordan deserves the attention... Cam deserves attention. Figuring out the right way to give each what they deserve and need is the hard part. I think it doesn't help with the way my girl clings to me. Even after this many days with our whole family, she's still desperate to be in my arms. It's great for my arm muscle growth... Terrible for the overall peace between my son and I. We'll figure this out just like we have all kinds of other things to figure out. I do know that long-term vacationing is wonderful and we've been so damned lucky to do it.


Sweating with plants

We're at the new Coastal Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, ME. Beautful stuff for such a new place.


Shopping at LL Bean!

Of course I had to catch a moment with Jordan and shoes. We both love shoes. Jordan is also getting pretty demanding in clothing stores. When she sees something she likes, she demands the opportunity the touch and admire the outfit. She is fine with putting it back but only after she has time to enjoy it. I think my girl is girlier than me.


A new doll

It was an overcast and eventually rainy day today... So after we enjoyed a lazy morning, the girls went shopping. Lucky for Jordan, she got her first real doll. You know: the kind that has a bottle and a pacifier. This one even makes a few sounds. All of it brings total and complete joy to Jordan.

So I spent a ton of time this evening grinning from ear to ear watching Jordan busily carry the baby from here to there. But with all of the watching and paying attention to Jordan, Cam was jealous. He's never said it outloud, but I think he's feeling really left out.

I tried to talk to him about how I totally understand how hard it is to be the older sibling. I've been there and lost out on all kinds of cool stuff. I tried to explain how I was able to give Cam all of my attention when he started doing cool things for the first time... But Jordan has to share my attention. I asked him to let me enjoy Jordan's growth... And to make sure I find time that is JUST Cam and Mommy time.

We can only hope it helps. Most of the day was peppered with Cameron yelling: "Mommy!" "Mommy" "Mommy!" I can only tolerate that with patience for a short amount of time.


Maine vacation is good for my girl

Jordan is so happy outside... And she LOVES the water. It's been clear since we started camping that she just loves to be outside. She doesn't want to be constrained, she wants to go. And the best thing to do: Dip her feet into the water. I've let her get soaking wet in a New Hampshire river and in the ocean in Maine. I just can't help it. She's so happy. And wet. Jordan learned how to throw rocks into the cove yesterday by watching her brother. I tried to get Jordan's official picture out on the rock today -- same spot every year. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to get my flash to work even though it the camera didn't think it needed the flash. I'm not confident enough to use all of the manual settings for such an important shot. I'm a wimp. I'll admit it. This was the sixth year we've plopped Cam onto the same rock -- Jordan's second year.

An amazing thing happened today while we were hanging out at the house on a beautiful day. We heard a knock on the door and there was my cousin Dave! His wife, one of her co-workers and her co-worker's son were on their way to Bar Harbor. They decided to stop by the house just for the heck of it. How cool is that? We got to go down to the water during low tide and skip rocks. We got to take a few family pictures. It was a random cool family moment! They had to run off to register for some kind of conference. Can you imagine getting to attend a conference in Bar Harbor? It's such a cool place!

Jordan is quickly developing more and more into a two year old. Her sleep has been off since we had a rough night sleeping on our last night on the campgrounds. So she's still trying to catch up on her rest. We're making it through 2 naps and an early bed time. But sleep or no sleep, she's getting more and more able to tell us what she wants and when she wants it. Most of the time she just wants to be in my arms or in my presence. I don't want to deny my love to her... But it's exhausting. I don't really want to complain much because it's just so special to be able to spend so much time with her and Cam.

I took notes while we were camping since we weren't able to have cell or computer access. I have daily stories of our experiences... And MAN did we have adventures. The lessons learned: Jordan will sleep while Mommy takes her up a steep mountain. Jordan will play in any type of water if she can get to it. Jordan is happy to chase after animals: dogs, cats, chipmunks, squirrels.... It just doesn't matter. And Jordan will scream anytime her brother takes a toy away. New to the mix: She will cry like she got a shot at the doctor's office. It hurts the ears!! Maybe tomorrow night I'll type all of the entries out. I took more than 600 pictures over our four day camping experience. I have a ton from the last two days in Maine as well. I have all kinds of Flickr work to do! But I'll worry about that tomorrow. I'm tired!


We made it!

So much to say... But we're cleaning up and unpacking in Maine. Much more to come.


All this excitement

My phone is running out of power... This is probably my last camping post. The kids are exhausted after exploring Crawford Notch. Beautiful sights and ducks to feed! We're headed to ride a local old-school train to wrap up the day. Hopefully these naps will help!

It may be rainy...

But it is beautiful here. We took a 3.2 mile hike yesterday to an incredible lake. Pictures? I didn't carry one... I carried the baby in the backpack. I kind of felt like Supermom. A sore Supermom.


I shouldn't have read the forecast

The drive is beautiful... But I'm getting nervous. The online forecast for the next four days:
Today: beautiful
Wednesday: rain
Thursday: rain
Friday: rain
Oh my gosh... I can only hope that's not true. My kidsl first camping trip could be very, very wet.

I had to take one more pic

We just said goodbye to my "Uncle" Steve... I don't think I've really spent time with him since I was on my way to college! It was great to share the kids, share some beers and just chat. I'm ready for the next adventure! Wish us luck.

On our way

Jordan's new friend

Yesterday was an awesome day... We played at an amusement area and then we got to take part in a soccer clinic with the Revolution -- the top ranked Major League Soccer team in the country! Cam and Jordan had a blast. I've had a little time to upload some pictures to Flickr. We're about to head out to our big four day camping adventure.


What an adventure

So we spent the day with all kinds of families of kids with limb differences... My favorite quote of the day from Cam: "There's all kinds of kids here with little arms!" Probably since we didn't make a big deal about today's event except that we told him we were going to something that was going to be REALLY FUN.

And it was REALLY FUN.

We took part in the Helping Hands Summer Outing. We got to spend the day eating, making crafts, playing in a bounce house (well, Cam did), swimming, winning things in a raffle (we got a bocce ball/horseshoe set that weighs a TON), getting toys and even getting anything we want from an ice cream truck!! Jordan passed out on me while we lined up for the last treat of the day, but I really think both kids had a good time.

What I think was the coolest part was having the kids hang out with other kids like Jordan. It was also interesting to talk to the few parents with younger kids (I'd have to say most kids were in elementary school with the limb differences) was finding out the various different challenges they've all dealt with. Jordan's low muscle tone isn't what one kids has... But he's had a lot of speech issues. Other kids had a tough time walking like Jordan. But all of the kids are happy and that was what was most important. It was nice to just walk up to people and know they understand the extra challenges and successes we have in our lives. I also met a few families I've met online. That's pretty exciting to meet people face to face!

Today's great day is just one of many since we've been on our long trek across the country. The kids have been really good on the trip. I'll admit, they've sustained through many, many DVDs. Jordan's favorite is a wild animals DVD with Elmo. What's great is Cam laughs along with it. Sweet stuff.

Before we got to Massachusetts, we spent time in Pennsylvania. Jordan got to meet new friends and also learned to love time with baby dolls. She was wrapping a doll up in a blanked and placing it in a "bed." She was also feeing it with a bottle and giving it a pacifier. ADORABLE. There's a lot of girl in my girl! She's hugging and loving the dolls I packed more since her time in PA. Sweet stuff.

Jordn also got to meet a family friend who she took a quick liking to (and that doesn't happen every day). My Uncle Steve just won her heart. She let him take her outside and read books to her. It was just great to watch. We get to go back to his house tomorrow after an exciting day with a Major League Soccer team. Fun! I wish I could be on vacation more often. I'm really enjoying the family time... Although I have gotten a bit stressed periodically -- But I think that's just in my character.


Did I mention?

She suddenly loves dolls. It is so dang sweet. She's playing with dolls... Cam's taking a nap. It's good stuff.

On the road again

We had a blast with Jordan and Cam's new friends. Now we're headed to see an old family friend. Two things are making this travel work: cheese puffs and a thing called a Snak Trap. It has made feeding the girl snacks go relatively easy. It's especially funny when she sticks the cup on her little arm.


Having all kinds of fun in PA

I had no idea we could find a 5 year old who is SO much like my boy. Cam had a ton of fun playing with a new friend. We are enjoying a day off from travel and hanging out with new friends.


Not bad at this travel thing

Jordan is taking her second nap of the day in a very long multi-state drive. She's come across two challenges: not getting every toy she wants and not being able to pick up things she dropped to her left. Gross moment of the day: I gave her a chocolate chip granola bar. I look over and she had spit out the half chewed food and smeared it all over her. That was fun. I'm sticking to cheerios for snacks now.

Our adventure has begun

Cam and I went to the Lion King lqst night. It was an amazing show. Cam did a really good job, enjoyed the show and usually asked questions quietly. It's all he's talking about today... Along with asking what state are we in. Not quite "are we there yet" but close.



Why oh why oh why do I wait to pack until the last minute?


To make matters more interesting, I took the kids to a birthday party tonight after work. Jordan was already ready for bed when we get there. She was doing pretty well once she noticed there was pizza to eat.

So I've noticed something... And I wonder if I'm a bad parent. I go out of my way to encourage Jordan to move on her own. She walks into and out of school on her own most days. When we are walking in public, I try to get her to walk as much as possible. But she falls down sometimes... And when she falls in the wrong way, she could fall on her face if she isn't wearing her prosthetic. When she falls, I don't gasp, I don't flinch, I may not even spend a lot of time watching her fall. I encourage her to stand up... But I rarely pick her up and cuddle her. It's not that I'm a hard ass, I just want her to be able to get up and go. But it made me think when she took at tumble at the movie theater and a woman gasped. She gasped. Jordan fell and didn't even cry, but she did tumble onto her face. It happens. Maybe I'm just used to it and I don't feel the need to make a big deal.

I'm just not sure.

I do know that I'm blogging instead of packing up a BILLION DVDs to help make our road trip doable.


Drumroll please.....

No allergies!

Jordan's doctor emailed me and let me know that after the girl's blood was tested for many, many allergens it appears that she doesn't have any allergies. We can go back to feeding her normally again.

But that still leaves the question: What is going on?

Another good piece of news -- The poop factor isn't as gross at the point. Hopefully we can keep it this way and hope this was just some strange phase... Put it into our past.

Who knows.

Maybe popcorn is the answer

I watched an amazing thing happen yesterday. My daughter gorged on popcorn. She's didn't just eat a lot... She ate so much that I had to leave the movie to refill the popcorn tub. We took the family to see Ratatouille. It's a really sweet movie... But I don't really think it's the kind of movie that would have engaged Jordan that much. It has a real story line, there isn't that much super-silly stuff in it. It's just a really great story. Fantastic animation. And apparently, AWESOME popcorn.

So after Jordan ate and ate and ate... This morning, the diaper was the most normal I've seen in more than a month. A month! So apparently she needed an obsessive amount of fiber to help clear things up.

I don't really want to jinx things... But I was going to write how it looks like her intestinal issues were improving. After the popcorn incident, I think I'm comfortable to say that she might be okay. I'm still skeptical about returning to dairy products. I'll put that in the wait-and-see category for when her blood test comes back.

Anyway. Along with going to a movie, Jordan got to go to a pool party where she started getting comfortable in the pool with me. She also got to test out her new bike chariot. It will be a fun addition to our outdoor time during our vacation. I did learn that her bike helmet wasn't put on tight enough. Woops. Lesson learned.


Last day

Today is Jordan's last day in the baby side of her school... It has a separate entrance, key pad code... You have to take your shoes off to help keep the floors clean for the crawlers.

On Monday, she moves to the other side of the building with the "big kids."

I'm thrilled for her... But it's a little bittersweet because the women on the "other side" have been so wonderful to Jordan. She's been there since April of last year -- that's a lot of growth and struggle and joy. I've spent so much time with all of them.

I'm extra sad because when they change the key pad code, I won't be able to stop by and say hi. Wah. Growing up is hard to do.

UPDATE: She actually spent most of today in her new room... And she ROCKED it in there! She slept 2 hours and ten minutes during nap, she ate a ton of food during lunch and her teachers said she joined in the fun immediately. There's a view of the big kid playground outside the window -- She had to show that to me. The teachers seem to be really nice and attentive. I know one of them from time she spent teaching dance to Cam's preschool classes. They seem VERY attentive and thrilled to have Jordan there. That's really all I could ask for. Already I can tell how the environment is MUCH more like preschool and less like simple daycare. They have circle time, centers for playtime... A book reading area. It's all very exciting.

Also... Tonight we played in the backyard and she body flopped into the sand box AGAIN. But this time she also tried taking a bite out of the sand... And discovered it doesn't taste really good. I also let her run around the house naked for a while after her bath. She was so happy. She is SO lucky to be the second kid. I would have never allowed Cam a quick visit in a sandbox just due to the mess it comes with... And let him run around naked? Are you kidding me? He could have peed on the floor.

My attitude now: She has to take a bath anyway - why not play in the sand? If she pees on the floor? Oh well, hopefully it won't happen on an area rug.


Quick update

I took Jordan to have her blood drawn to get us closer to finding out if she has a food allergy (or some kind of allergy). No fun. We had to have three people to make it happen. I held her body. Another woman held her arm while another woman too Jordan's blood. Miss Jordan was pretty darn upset. Amazingly, she wasn't bruised... There's just a little mark.

It was a little strange though. I opened Jordan's arm and the lab technician started poking at her arm looking for a vein... And I said: "You only have one arm to work with. Good luck!" I don't know why, but I thought that was kind of funny.

Then it made me think... How does the blood flow through Jordan's arm. How does it work? I'm dying to know what's inside her little arm. Does she have a malformed elbow? What kind of muscle structure is at the base of her arm? I would LOVE to know more.


Happy 4th of July

Not much to say... But I watched Jordan help make this little holiday hat at school yesterday. It helped her look even more festive in her outfit.

Highlight of the day: Plopping my festively dressed girl in the sandbox... shoes and all. Then I watched her take a head dive into the sand and come up with the BIGGEST smile. If only she was happy when I had to get the sand out of her hair in the bath tub!


Here's a sweet sleepy moment I captured in the car last Sunday after the big zoo trip. I sat in the parking lot while the rest of the family got custard. I caught this shot on my cellphone.



The girl's intestinal issues aren't improving.


So we're going to start allergies tests on Thursday to figure out what's going on. We're close to a month of icky poops.

I have no experience in this kind of ongoing health problem. I'd like to say it's just teeth, but I don't know!

Here is a slideshow of our big zoo trip over the weekend:

As usual, if you can't see these pictures, you're welcome to join in on the fun at Flickr.

It may be the fourth of July tomorrow, but Jordan's PT is kindly coming over to help fit lifts for her newest non-sandal shoes. I'm still pretty bummed she can't wear her favorite shoes. Maybe I'll sneak them on our vacation so she can wear them a couple of times.

We're working in the newsroom tomorrow... Not a full day, so hopefully we'll have a fun holiday at some point in the day. We're thinking about calling it a "hol" or "iday" since it won't be a full holiday.


Zoo fun!

Jordan got to go to the zoo today!! She went when she was WAY too young to really understand where she was. This was the first time Jordan could enjoy it. Not only did she get to enjoy it, she also got to spend more time with her Uncle Barry. We also learned some interesting thing about Jordan.

She likes animals... She loves animals. She's not a huge fan of animals when they're really up close. But giraffes, monkeys and hippos from a far distance are awesome. She was exhausted after today's adventure. I'm going to upload a TON of pictures. There one that I think is really cool. She's walking in a crowd with her Dad. Just walking. Very simple. But it's beautiful to me. Just beautiful.

Trying this out

So we're planning a vacation... A big one. It's bigger than ever. So I'm seeing how possible it is to blog from my phone. You never know when you need to speak your mind from inside a minivan full of food, clothes, camping gear and two strong-willed children. But I did discover the Google Maps downloadable map program for my Treo. It even has traffic maps! I am excited by the littlest things.