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.


Happy birthday... see ya later

After Jordan's VERY big second birthday party, her dad and I had to leave town the very next day. We're on our way to cover the Cotton Bowl for work. Luckily I have a wireless card and I can post from the car.

Wow, I'm still floored that Jordan is two years old.

Her birthday was big. I stayed up late the night before to build a wooden kitchen that she got last year and I didn't think she was old enough for it until now. (I also happened to buy extra pans for the kitchen as a birthday present, so it seemed to make sense to get the kitchen up and running before she opened that gift)

She loves that kitchen. LOVES it. Her brother appears to love it as well... So much that he made me a lot of "meals" throughout the day. Jordan loved the extra attention. You could catch her singing songs like "I'm two" and "Happy birthday" throughout the day. She's such a strong-willed, sweet little girl. You should have seen her battling for toys with her brother. As my mom said yesterday: By the time Jordan is four, Cameron is doomed. She is going to rule the roost.

Anyway. The combination of the new kitchen, some doll toys (including a really, really cool Ikea doll bed that Jordan tried to sleep in) and a new play phone made the birthday gift-giving a success. My birthday cake was very sweet and tasty. To top that off, my aunt and uncle joined in on the cake singing and candle blowing over an iSight camera. And it was extra cool for my parents to be there for it all. Somehow, they've seen Jordan on all three of her birthdays: The day she was born, the early morning of her first birthday (we drove away from Orlando that day) and this year. Very, very lucky girl.

On a totally different note, I went shopping with my mom and bought new clothes for me -- the first real shopping spree since I lost weight. Yahoo nice fitting clothes!


Happy birthday big girl

I can't believe it's been two years.


She loves this holiday

Jordan loved her Christmas Eve. She got to play with family... Many who had never met her. She got to eat good food (she kept saying "YUM" and chow down on all kinds of stuff). She also got to open presents. OH MY GOODNESS. She loved ripping through paper. I honestly think if we had gotten her books and a bunch of boxes to rip open, she would have been content. Oh, and a Dora doll with hair she can comb. After Jordan was done opening presents, she continued to help everyone else open their gifts. It was awesome.

She really enjoyed playing with her brother's stuff and a new wooden zylophone from Africa. All kinds of fun for the kids.

She did not want to go to sleep tonight and telling her Santa was coming meant absolutely nothing. It was a great Christmas so far. She enjoyed the fun and the festivities.

Ho Ho Ho!

Jordan is having fun with all this time without the push and pull of school and therapy and Mom's work schedule... I put her in a dress I bought for her before she was born two years ago. The funny thing is I thought of this dress not long after her birth and I thought: She'll never be able to wear it with her little arm. So, this year I decided to try it anyway. I had her wear that Santa dress with her prosthetic. It was a struggle getting that arm through the Santa puff, but it looked super sweet. What's funny is she's so skinny, she fit it in this year and it was too big last year! During church yesterday, she lifted her hand up, looked at the white fluff at the end of the sleeve and said: "Santa!" Very cute.

Anyway, Jordan is enjoying running around talking about Santa and harassing her brother. They're playing and fighting together in the most classic of ways. What's cool to watch is that they actually can play together. They're giggling, teasing and enjoying each other's company (in between being annoyed with each other).

By the way -- That little Santa hat that Jordan is wearing in that picture... It took me all day to just get her to wear it long enough for me to take three photos. She's a stubborn bugger. I love her for that.


In the holiday mood

We're enjoying family time for the holidays -- I'm doing my best not to hop online as much as I normally do. Jordan is getting better at saying words like Santa, Ho ho ho and tree. She's also saying more sentences. REALLY fast sentences.

I wanna eat that sounds like "Iwannaeatthat." She'll say it rapidly five times in a row before I realize what she's saying. There are other sentences - They are all very fast and I'm floored every time I translate it and realize this little baby is NO baby.

I'm also talking her into doing a few things with actual logic. If you've noticed, her hair is constantly in her eyes because I'm growing out her bangs. Bangs suck. It's a BEAR to grow them out so I figured we'd just grow them out from the very beginning. Well, she has started complaining about her hair in her eyes from time to time - And I've jumped onto the opportunity to actually put a bow into her hair. Check out the picture of her at her school holiday party. I've been able to get her to wear a clip two times in the last week. It doesn't always work, but it's progress.

I've also found that I have to count to three every once and a while -- To get her to move away or stop doing something she shouldn't do. The down side, she screams the moment I say "One..."

She's screaming a lot these days. It's loud here. It's very loud.


A conversation you don't hear in a lot of homes

"Hey 'hon?"


"Could you bring Jordan's arm upstairs? It's next to the refrigerator."



First basketball game

Miss Jordan got to go to her first college basketball game tonight! She had a ball. Seriously. By the end of the game when our team was REALLY winning, we headed out when it was clear she was exhausted. But she had fun cheering and yelling and eating popcorn. She was WAY more engaged than her brother. I'm not sure how.

To maintain her independence, Jordan was willing to walk to and from the car. She slid and slipped while holding onto my hands. Every time she would slide, she'd go: "WHOOPS!" I don't know why I found that so funny... But I was lucky I didn't fall down.

Here's some video of the kids at the game:


A little togetherness

I try not to pimp this blog much... I encourage parents of limb-different kids to visit, but I rarely encourage crowds of people to visit. After Jordan's big performance, I kind of pimped it a bit because I'm really proud. Also, I kind of think it's special to see the confidence and grace of an almost-2-year-old who some might think wouldn't be able to dance so well. And shoot, it's just stinking cute to see little kids dance.

So I've shown her off more than usual, and it's so special to be able to do that and feel proud and not worried about what people think when they see our little one in the video and pictures. I feel great and proud and excited to force all kinds of people to watch a few moments of Jordan on stage. Yes. I uploaded the video into my iPhone so I can hand it to anyone to watch.

I was actually walking down a hall when a co-worker started talking to me about Jordan. This is someone who I would have never thought would be interested in my girl... But this person wanted to have a good reason to smile. I'm happy to share.

To add to the pride, we had students graduate tonight. I'm proud of them all and glad I got to hug many of them and meet their parents. It's amazing I've been working with students for almost five years and it still excites me. That must mean I'm doing something right.


Because still pictures are fun

Here is a slideshow of the big show:

See it up close

I'm kind of crazy... It's probably obvious from my devout documentation of my children. So last night I had two different cameras rolling on video of Jordan's dances. One that would be quick for uploading purposes (see previous blog post) and one that could zoom in closer and I could edit on a computer.

So, I give you another opportunity to watch my girl:

We've enjoyed a post-Nutcracker high in our household. It's just awesome.


She is a star

I must must must share this awesome video. Some who know me won't be surprised about this discovery about Jordan: She loves the stage. Jordan danced in two dances in her little schools production of The Nutcracker. Here is video of her in both dances (the first dance is on two pieces of video). Stick around to the end of the third piece of video to see a sweet moment. She was totally in her real on the stage


It sure is chilly here

It's cold and icy here... But that hasn't kept the kids from really enjoying it outside. Yesterday, Jordan and Cam enjoyed playing and sliding all over the place in our neighborhood. Today, Jordan just pointed at a lot of stuff and declared: "COLD!!" (Or in her way: "COLE!!")

I'm getting really excited because we're getting very close to Jordan's second performance in her school's Nutcracker. Many teachers who have seen her practice say Jordan is REALLY excited about the dance and she's very focused and happy when she performs. I can't wait. If she's in a good mood, we might get to see a great show. I'm also really thrilled she loves dance so much. I see it as a great way to work on balance and honestly, dance is beautiful. I can only see it as an ego boost when you get to wear pretty pink flowing outfits and prance around.


Snow day

Miss Jordan got her first real dose of snow yesterday. The kids and I rushed through the morning get-ready process so we could play in the snow before walking Cam to school. Jordan was wary at first: I pulled her in the sled for a while. Then she got brave and walked around. She also enjoyed our walk to school. After all the kids were in school, we had a really nice quiet walk home. The snow left such a quiet feel to our neighborhood. The only sound you could hear was the crunching of my boots in the snow. I pointed it out to Jordan and she said: "Shhhhhh." I think she really enjoyed the silence. There's a special beauty that comes with the first snow of the season. It was cool to have the time to really experience it with Jordan. As she gets closer to her second birthday, I'm eating up her understanding of vocabulary and her growing ability to communicate back.

After our quiet, snowy morning, I took Jordan to meet a new little baby girl named Avery. I'm not sure how impressed Jordan was by the experience, but Jordan did say hi and we discussed how babies say "waah waah."


I wish Todd Kuiken was my best friend

Thanks to the Failure to Form blog, I read about how Northwestern University's Dr. Todd A. Kuiken's work to advance nerve-based prosthetics is improving. Dr. Kuiken had an email conversation with me three months after Jordan was born. I tracked him down after a friend of mine at CNN tipped me off on his work. Kuiken was incredibly kind to reply to my email. He said how his work is with adults and by the time Jordan is grown, he expects his work and the work of others to be ready for her use. I'm thrilled that the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago continues to work on these efforts. What I'd really like to see is research with congenital amputees. Would nerve-based prosthetics work if a brain has never had fingers to trigger? In watching Jordan, it might be possible. When I ask Jordan to wiggle her fingers, she wiggles her fingers and the base of her arm (and her tongue). But it may be a different reason she does that. Her occupational therapist says brain injury patients react with wiggling everything to help understand the task. That kind of took the wind out of my nerve/brain theory. But I may still be correct -- But it would take research and congenital adults who would be willing to take part.

I guarantee you most congenital amputee grown ups have no interest in playing with upper-limb prosthetics. It's just a guess. But so far, no one has even tried!!

"I love you"

I always sing a lullaby to my kids at night. Each one has their own special lullaby. It really took me a while to get Jordan's just right -- But recently I think the lyrics are ready:

Go to sleep and good night
My sweet little Jordan
You are my baby
My little baby
And I love you head to toe
Sleep all night
And you might
Have a wonderful dream now
Sweet little girl
Best in the world
May your dreams make you happy

Silly I know

Then I hum the song one more time and rub Jordan's belly.

Tonight after my little song and hum and belly rub, Jordan whispered: "I love you."

Dang. She melts my heart.



Suddenly Jordan is climbing... She's trying to stand on chairs and today I caught her trying to get on top of a table. I'm a little nervous about it all. There are a couple of reasons: 1) She's off balance and the fall would be scary. 2) I don't remember her brother climbing around at all when he was little. So overall, I'm a bit nervous about this development.

By the way, Jordan's prosthetic came back a week ago.. And she's wearing it really well. During therapy yesterday, Jordan picked up a ball with her "arm" and even drew with a marker a little. She's always figuring things out. I love that about her.