2011 In Review

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Hello all! We’ve had a good year here in the Payne household.

Juliana has grown to a staggering 20 lbs and 31.5″. What a big girl! She has started talking and says the following words regularly:
Mama, Dada, Nana, Papa, Meme (for Megan), Robby, yep, no, go, bye, hi, apple, baby, bus, bath, beep, hot, hat, bite, off, and she signs the words for more, water, all done, please, and thank you. She does the animal sounds for cow, dog, cat (kinda), sheep, lion, tiger, and monkey. She attempted something like “ama” for Grandma, and this morning she said Katie. She has loads of other words that would not be recognizable to a stranger, and many that are not recognizable to us. She is also getting more willing to repeat the words that we say. Yesterday she said “Memphis,” the name of the Herrs’ dog who is staying with us. She also sings, in tune, the alphabet song (although not all the letters are clear), and her own special bathtime song. Occasionally something will come out that really sounds like a sentence. “That’s my cousin!” (pointing at Ellis), “What is that?”, “No, I didn’t.”

Since her 2nd birthday in October when she received refrigerator magnet letters from her Nana, Juliana has been learning her letters. She loves it! She can now identify most of the letters of the alphabet, and she says about half of them. Her favorites are B, D, and E. Sadly, she hasn’t even yet attempted J, which is the official letter of our household. She also seems to have a fairly consistent grasp of all the colors. She can regularly identify them, although she doesn’t say any of their names yet.

She loves Christmas trees and lights and her latest obsession is the moon. Reading is her favorite past-time, and she still loves dogs and cats. She climbs up on her rocking horse all by herself and loves to rock it. She loves coloring and made her first craft this fall with her OT: a leaf with bits of red and orange tissue paper glued on to it. Of course it is up on our fridge. She has recently discovered sticker books and loves matching up the sticker with the pictures and then tapping it to stay down.

Her palate is still not very sophisticated. I’m afraid we stick to the following menu 99 times out of 100: mac & cheese, apples, bananas, oatmeal, cold cereal (Raisin Bran without the raisins), yogurt, grilled cheese sandwiches, grapes, frozen peas, and whole wheat Ritz crackers. She has however discovered that she loves hummus, so this gives me hope for a future of more exotic tastes. She guzzles water like it’s going out of style (I think she drinks more oz per day than I do!), and she loves orange and apple juice, although she gets these in very rare doses.

Juliana was sick for the first time on the nights of December 23-24 and 24-25, and for most of the day on Christmas. She threw up several times and was downright miserable. She was so quiet and sweet and endured her pain like a champ. Mostly she wanted to snuggle on the couch with me, which was fine!

Thanks to Monika Bliss Morris for a fantastic fall photo shoot!

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We spent Thanksgiving in Michigan with the Paynes and Great-Grandma Kinyon. For Christmas, we traveled to Tennessee to visit with the Minner side of the family. We had a very happy holiday season, and we wish you all well in 2012!

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Summer 2011, second half

So, I have obviously kind of abandoned the blog. It wasn’t intentional, I promise! We’ve just found that uploading photos from our phones onto Facebook has been so much easier than downloading and reformatting from our camera. However, we have dear friends who aren’t necessarily on Facebook who still want to see recent pictures of Juliana. So, here are a few more pictures for you all! We’re thinking of getting a different blog that will be easier to use, but we will let you know if/when we make the switch. Thanks to you all for keeping up with Juliana and for caring so much about her. We love you all!

Juliana will be 2 this October. How time flies! We have had a busy summer: we went to the beach with friends, visited new baby cousin Ellis Mark Partlo and the Minner side of the family in Tennessee, visited Michigan to see friends and the Payne side of the family, went to the zoo with Nana and Papa, went to Lake Michigan, played in the wading pool and learned to run! Click on the thumbnails to see the large versions of the pictures!

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For extra fun, match the captions with the photos:

1. Juliana and her own private yacht.
2. Juliana, Mommy, Daddy, and John Ball.
3. Juliana, Nana, and cousin Alex.
4. After a close taste test, Juliana decides that mint chocolate chip is her favorite.
5. Juliana pets a goat.
6. Juliana thinks that goats are just about the right size to ride.
7. Juliana, Nana, and Papa.
8. Juliana and Aunt Kelly.
9. Juliana thinks the dump truck is her own personal vehicle and Uncle Justin (favorite person of the year) and Grandma Minner are her chauffeurs.
10. Juliana finds that sheep are softer than she originally thought.
11. Juliana thinks the white hat makes her look really cute.
12. Juliana runs like the wind away from the corn. That corn is waaaay too tall.
13. Juliana can’t be bothered to look up for a photo because “this sand won’t just dig itself!”
14. And again.
15. And again.
16. And again.
17. Juliana takes a stroll through the John Ball Zoo with Daddy and Nana.
18. Juliana loves her Great-Grandma Kinyon.

Big Girl

So, this has been the week of milestones. On February 8 we celebrated one year of having Juliana home from the hospital. On February 10 we celebrated the anniversary of her due date. I pointed out to my students in class: remember when we had Juliana’s birthday? Back in October? Feels like a long time ago, right? Well, this is when she SHOULD have been born. So, the difference between those two dates is how much longer she was supposed to stay in her warm, snug little womb-home. But, instead, she arrived too early, and many challenges entered her life as a result. (Which seems so unfair, because we ALL have challenges in life, but she had to start out with so many more than most.) But, over the last 15 1/2 months, Juliana has been conquering challenges. She is not just surviving, she is thriving.

Juliana’s days are spent playing with her gazillion toys, reading books, talking walks and playing with Baby Isaac Herr, destroying Mommy’s laptop keys, wishing for her own iPhone, chasing after (and sometimes catching) Sophie, crawling everywhere and getting ready to walk. She isn’t super interested in food at the moment, although she really wants to bite into an apple, and she loves flavored puff cereal. She is on the verge of saying her first words, and she has been working diligently to try to say “kitty-cat.” This will probably be her first word, as we seem to be hearing a cute little whispered “key-ca” coming from her. However, whenever Sophie runs by, Juliana is generally too excited to talk. She also says a lot of dadadadada, but we’re not yet sure if she is associating the word with Jason. She will point to the light or fan when we say the name, and her favorite thing is her mobile, specially made by Alban and Evan. She points at it as we rock in her chair or change her diaper.

At her most recent doctor visit she weighed 16 lb, 11 oz and was 28 inches long. To put this in perspective, most babies are expected to triple their birth weight by their first birthday. Juliana tripled her birth weight before she even left the hospital. She is now (at 15 1/2 months) 12 times her birth weight. She is still extremely small, but her physical therapists and neonatologists are happy with her development. She is following her developmental age really well, and she seems to be advanced in a few areas. For example, she loves to turn the pages in her books, which she has been doing for 3-4 months now and is an advanced skill.

She has been teething off and on for months, and she now has two bottom teeth and a side top tooth. There is no sign of where the next one will come in, but we are rooting for top front. Her teething also makes her rather grumpy at times. But in general, she is the sweetest, happiest baby.

We are working on sleeping through the night. She is currently waking up 2-4 times a night, but we’ve been trying some tips that might be working. Our main obstacle is that we do not want to let her cry, so the “cry it out” technique doesn’t work for us. The other techniques seem to take longer, but we are willing to wait. In the meantime, she goes to bed at 7:30 and (if we’re lucky) sleeps in until 7:30 with a few interludes.

As Jason posted on his Facebook page, this has been the best year of our lives. Every day we wake up to hear her precious little voice and clapping hands and we know that no matter what else goes on, we are blessed.

Thank you Daddy for the roses and ribbons for Eden and Zoe’s trees. It was a nice remembrance. And thank you to the Bauer family for the beautiful roses to commemorate Juliana’s milestone. Thank you all for keeping Juliana in your prayers.

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Update

Juliana is 13 months old! She is crawling! She has a tooth coming through. She is such a big girl! 🙂 We are thinking that she is about 16.5 lbs now. She desperately wants to walk and loves pulling Sophie’s fur. She loves to visit with baby Isaac Herr, and she loves her special mobile from Alban and Evan Howe. Her favorite foods so far: squash, sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, plums. Foods she dislikes: peas, asparagus, apples, and carrots. Favorite toys: her piano and her books, especially her musical book, but most of all–Mommy’s laptop. She is still not sleeping through the night. We are usually up 3-4 times every night. That is something we will be working on in the new year, but she still is really only 10 months old developmentally.

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11 months

We saw the helmet specialist this week, and she re-measured the asymmetry of Juliana’s head. It has dramatically improved in the 6 weeks that she has had her helmet. When we first started, her head was 12% asymmetrical. Now, it is only 5.5%. They generally do not recommend a helmet for any baby who is under 6%, so if we had just come to them now, Juliana wouldn’t need the helmet! We are, however, going to finish our course, since it has done so much good so far. Juliana tolerates it well and will only need it for a few more weeks.

We also went for another NICU follow-up appointment recently. At that visit, Juliana weighed 13 lbs, 11 oz, and was nearly 25 inches long. She passed all of the developmental tests for a 7 month baby, and her physical therapists agree that she is doing very well.

She has started sitting on her own for a few minutes at a time, and her back is so strong and straight! Babies have such perfect posture! She still loves to stand, although she won’t be walking for awhile yet.

Her little laugh is so sweet. We’ll try to capture it on video soon since she has finally started actually making a laughing sound.

Also, we video chat regularly with her Nana and her aunties. Juliana has become so used to this, that when she hears the “dialing” sound on the computer, she starts laughing and lunging at the screen.

She also loves to look at herself in the mirror and look at pictures of herself and other babies. These are all normal developmental phases for a 7-10 month old and so cute!

Her separation anxiety has grown lately, and she doesn’t like me to put her down or to walk away (like to the bathroom or to get some food). So, that has made packing for our upcoming move extreeeeemly difficult, and Jason has had to bear the brunt of all the work involved in this move. He has been awesome, while Juliana and I rock in the chair and give orders. haha.

We will be posting before and after pictures of our new house fairly soon. The big move is on Sunday. Yikes! You know, we have lived in this house longer than anywhere I have lived in my entire life! We’ve lived here for 10 years, and I have lived on the HVA campus for 14 years! Almost half my life! So, even though we are moving only 3.9 miles away, it will still be a bit weird for awhile. I have loved living in the Mt. Aetna community. But, one of our new neighbors came by and introduced herself today, and she seems very friendly. I know there will be lots of good things about living in our new house, and I’m so excited to share the photos with you all!

In the meantime, here are some more photos of Juliana.

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10 months

Hello to all of Juliana’s faithful followers! This will be a wordy update on her life.

Juliana is now 10 months old and 6 1/2 months old developmentally. She weighs about 13 lbs and is 25 inches long, perhaps longer by now. She is an angel.

We have her helmet now, which will correct the asymmetry of her head. She only has to wear it for 3 months, thankfully, but she doesn’t seem to mind it too much. She wears it for 23 hours a day and then gets a break each evening for her bath.

We went to the eye doctor yesterday and he checked her eyes. He says that her retinas are looking great! (Retinal issues are prevalent with babies who have had ROP.) Her glasses prescription has not changed, at least for now, and we figured out how to keep the glasses AND helmet on simultaneously. This is a huge relief, because we did not want her to go 3 months without her glasses. She sees things so much better with them, and she is more animated and interactive with them on.

Developmentally, she keeps on trucking according to where she should be with her adjusted age of 6 1/2 months. She loves to roll all around but is not quite ready to crawl. She is just about to sit on her own, and actually loves to stand. She is very stable on her feet, but nowhere near ready to actually stand or walk.

She smiles all the time and makes a cute little laugh that doesn’t quite sound like a laugh yet. She sleeps most of the night and loves to play all day long, except for a few brief naps.

Juliana has been eating some rice cereal (didn’t impress her) and butternut squash (she kinda likes). She still isn’t sure about swallowing stuff, but seems to do okay with the squash flavor. Next up: sweet potatoes.

I have started back to school, but I am only teaching part time this year. Jason watches Juliana until I get home mid-morning, and then I spend the rest of the day with her. She goes to faculty meeting with me for now, and we take a lot of walks.

She looks like a little aviator with her helmet and glasses on together, especially when she sits in her exersaucer and she looks like she is manning a huge control panel. Her exersaucer especially inspires her to “talk” very loudly. She also loves to play the piano and listen to music.

We’re sorry that the uploading photos part of the website has become so time-intensive that we have fallen off our regular posting. We’ll try to do better! Maybe more pictures to come later today or tomorrow.

Thanks for following Juliana’s progress. She is so sweet and wonderful and we thank God every day for her precious little life. Parenthood is just absolutely wonderful, and we are loving every second.

Update

Hello Everyone! I’m sorry that we are updating more infrequently now. We still appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers as Juliana continues to grow. Here is an update on what she has been doing in the last several weeks.

All doctor visits have been great. Juliana is a very healthy and happy little baby. She is 7 months old, and nearly 4 months old developmentally (adjusted age). She is still not on the growth chart, but her growth is tracking according to the curve, so although she continues to be small, she is growing appropriately. She currently weighs about 11 1/2 lbs, and she grew a remarkable 2 inches in length in about 2 1/2 weeks! She is 23 1/2 inches long. She is eating well and sleeping well. Her nighttime schedule is rather interesting: she usually sleeps from about midnight to 6 am, eats, then sleeps again until 10 am. This works fine for my current summer schedule, but we will need to adjust before I start back to HVA (teaching part time) in August. Throughout the day she giggles and coos, plays with her toys, and really enjoys reading books and watching her mobile.

The physical therapists are still coming regularly, and they say that she is progressing very well. Each time they give us a skill or two as her goals, and she meets them within a day or two of their visit. Yesterday she surprised us by rolling over! (There was a small cheat involved, as the surface was not entirely flat, but she has definitely learned the skill!) She has started to drool all over everything, which indicates that her saliva glands are kicking in to gear to start some solid foods in a couple of weeks. We don’t think that she’s quite ready to teethe, but we are watching for that as well.

We are currently monitoring the asymmetry of her head, due to the enforced positioning on her left side while her right leg was broken in the NICU. It isn’t severe, and we are hoping that it will resolve itself, but there is a possibility that she may have to wear a helmet for a few months, later in the summer.

We went to Tennessee in May to celebrate my brother Caleb’s academy graduation. It was Juliana’s first road trip. She did pretty well with the experience, although I think it would be a fair assessment of her feelings to say that she thinks 10 hours in a car seat should be considered child abuse. 🙂 The family enjoyed getting to spend more time with our chubby little bundle of joy.

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03/23/10 Cutie Pie

Juliana has started grinning at us, in obvious response to our smiles and talking. She is so precious! Her hemangioma seems to be healing. The specialist at Johns Hopkins prescribed an antibiotic ointment and predicts that it will resolve itself in a few weeks. That’s great news! She weighs over 8 lbs now and is starting to sleep for 4 hour stretches occasionally.

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03/12/10

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We’ve had a good week. Juliana enjoyed snuggling with her Grandpa and Grandma Minner, who visited last weekend. Then, the nurse who came to visit on Monday was not actually the physical therapist I expected, who will eventually evaluate Juliana’s development and put together a plan for her activities and exercises. Instead, it was just the case manager with a lot of paperwork to get us started. She was very nice, and she will be bringing the therapist back during the first week of April to do a thorough assessment of Juliana’s progress. So, stay tuned for updates in that area.

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In other news, our weather has been gorgeous this week, and Juliana took her first walk! We didn’t have our stroller yet, so we just carried her around the neighborhood. She mostly slept.

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Also, I have finally finished working on the nursery. My original design idea hinged on the concept of a “family tree” decal on the wall. Babies see the contrast of black and white better than colors, at least at first. So, I wanted to put up some black and white photos of her family’s faces, so that she can start to recognize people. Her grandparents, aunts, and uncles are on the family tree, and I put some more photos of Jason and me over her changing area. After much delay from orders gone awry, our tree finally arrived. Jason helped me put it up, and everything has come together. So many people have been helpful in assembling this room. My ideas have been carried out by my mom who made the beautiful curtains and crib skirt, my sister Katie who created and made a gorgeous quilt, my sister Megan and Jennifer Calhoun who spent hours helping me organize the many gifts from all of you lovely folks, and Ansley who helped me arrange photos. Mark and Jen Cook gave us their crib, which is beautiful and perfect for Juliana. A special thanks also to Sheri Tydings (and HVA) for the bookcase and for picking up our chair from the store and hauling it back to Hagerstown. Juliana is truly lucky to have so many people who care about her. She is enjoying being at home and snuggling with us in her rocking chair.

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03/08/10 Growth

We had another visit to the pediatrician today. Juliana weighs 7 lb 6 oz today and is 18.5 inches long. A surprising fact: she is now registering on the growth chart! Her length is still too short to be on the chart yet, but judging from her weight, she is now in the 11th percentile for her “real” age of 4 months. Yay! She’s likely to be on the small side for most of her life, but she has never been on the chart up until now!

The Maryland Infants and Toddlers program developmental lady is coming tomorrow to evaluate Juliana and start her on her physical therapy course, which is a free resource in our state. We’ll see how she does!