Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from The Busy Bea

We've been MIA recently. That's because our computer has yet another virus. And this time? It's fried. So while we're busy computer shopping, please enjoy an e-copy of our 2011 Christmas Card. I wish we could have sent everyone of our readers a card this year; but dang. These suckers are expensive! So, here's the 21st Century version of a Holiday Greeting from The Busy Bea and her parents:

Front:
Back:


We have had such an amazing year, filled with changes, a move, new careers, professional licensing and a crazy, rascally toddler keeping things interesting.

We're very much looking forward to 2012 and seeing what all it has to bring for our Sweet Girl and for our family.

Merry Christmas to you and yours and we wish you very, very Happy New Year! See you in 2012 with a full recap of our holiday adventures (there's sure to be a lot to share)!
~Casey, Ashley and Beatrice Kate
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bad Day Buster ...

Having a bad day? Need a laugh? The next set of pictures is nearly 100% guaranteed to clear up any bad day grumblies you might be having.

Two weeks ago, I was in the kitchen cleaning or cooking or eating cookies in the pantry when I noticed that Beatrice Kate was being quiet. A little too quiet. Upon walking into the living room to check it out, this is what I saw:
I hate my life.

Poor Arnold. He's so sweet. He's also so old. So old in fact, that he may not have even realized (or cared) what Beatrice Kate was doing to him:
What the...? Hey! Who did this to you, Arnold?!?
At first, she tried to play it off innocent:
I just walked in and found him like this. I swear. Golly, I'm cute. Did I tell you how much I love you, Mommy?
Then, her guilty conscious got the better of her; and she couldn't hold out any longer:
Hold on a second...How did this monster get in my hand?
Oh. Ok. You caught me. I was just ... decorating Arnold. Yea, that's it. Decorating him. For the holidays.
Then, it just snowballed from there. She was grabbing stuffed animals left and right to "decorate" her beloved Nanny Dog:
Doo, Doo, Doooo. Now he just needs a touch of something else...

Yep, a little alligator to finish it off...
Annnnnddddd... She was finished:
One of them is really excited about this project.
And, Arnold? He stayed like that for over an hour. He may not have even known what just happened to him. Or maybe, he just didn't care:
Whatever. I'm old.
I can't wait to get old like Arnold.


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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Un-Make-Believe-Able

Watching the imagination of a toddler develop and grow right in front of my eyes is astounding. I mean, I knew she would eventually want to "Play Pretend" but the rate at which she picks things up and turns them into a game is astounding.
Mischief Managed.

Nearly any, ol' boring family trip say to the Duke Homestead, is an opportunity for a new adventure for her:
Ay-Ya! Take that, and that!

Wide-open spaces become a place to chase and fend off approaching monsters:
I said stand back, you mongrels.

Steps and stones transform into a Broadway Stage:
Let's try it in E flat, boys.

Dark spaces become dungeons or caves, ready for exploration:
You stay here, Daddy. I'll tell you if the coast is clear, ok?
Shut doors need to be knocked on. You know, just to check and see if anyone is home, of course:
Heelllooo? Anybody home?

And her new favorite game? "Storefront":
What'll it be, Big Guy?

I have no idea where she learned this, or when she started doing it because it just kind of "showed up" one day:
We have the finest selection of sticks and rocks this side of town.

Beatrice Kate takes anything (and I mean anything) that has two sides and turns it into a restaurant bar:
Suitable for any pallet, I assure you.

"Want some?," she'll say:

Why yes, yes we do:
If there's one thing that I hope she never grows too old, or too cool for, it's this ability to make magic from seemingly ordinary places. It's truly something special. Kinda' like her:


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Monday, December 5, 2011

Decking the Halls ...

We may have been a few days late compared to years previous, but we finally decorated the house for the Holidays this weekend. And our toddler... our sweet, but oh-so-rowdy-and-a-little-rascally toddler, helped.

Before she could help trim the tree, Mommy had the unlucky task of placing and wrapping the lights. It helped that this year's tree was considerably shorter than last year's version:

After that was all taken care of, it was showtime. And by "showtime", I mean it was time for our toddler to work her magic. It started with a pack of Silver Bells:

Girlfriend knew she had a task in front of her, and she was nothing if not meticulous about proper Bell Placement: 

I don't know why I'm shocked at her careful handling of our ornaments.She does nearly everything with the precision of a surgeon. Maybe she'll use her dexterity to make a lot of money someday and take care of her poor, ailing mother...

Anyway, as we were hanging ornaments on our tree this year, I was shocked, in a happy way, to notice how our family ornaments tell the story of our family in a way. For example, there's the ornament given by dear friends at a Christmas party at our very first house:

This one is perhaps the very first ornament we ever had. The angel (as tacky and cheap as she is) that sat atop of our very first tree that we had together:
 Then there's the ornament that symbolizes the day we officially became a family:


Still others, like the collection of beeswax candles from Love Feasts Past, help us remember each year we've spent together since:
Some ornaments help us remember friends we've lost:

Some help us remember how lucky we are for the silly friends we still have:

Of all the ornaments, perhaps this one may be the most important; as it stands for The Reason we do all this in the first place:

Then there are others that symbolize hobbies:
 Some are just silly; like The Christmas Pickle. It started as a joke, and is now a beloved traditional game... sadly, named "Find the Pickle":
Naturally, the smallest member of the family has the most ornaments all to herself:

I mean really, what other child receives so many "Baby's First Christmas" baubles?

Someone might be just a little spoiled ...


Regardless, it all comes together to create something really special:
 Having a smaller tree gave us the opportunity to showcase and use only the ornaments that really meant something... even if it meant we had to let go of our grand visions of cramming a 15-footer into our new, 8-foot ceilings...
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is this thing on?

Sooooooo...

I'm pretty much the worst blogger in the history of bloggers. It's been nearly 2 weeks since our last update and since there's frankly just too much to recap, I'll go with my stand-by bullet list to bring us all up to speed:
  • My Doula business is booming. So far, I've met with and taken on nine clients. NINE! In two weeks?!? That's pretty awesome. Of course, it helps that I'm offering services for free; but still, those nine free couples will hopefully become the bedrock of my referrals and references.
  • That's the main reason I've been such a slack blogger. I haven't had my normal "Daddy's home and Mommy gets to read Facebook and putz around on Pinterest blog" time.
  • Thanksgiving happened. In our case, it was "Friendsgiving" since we didn't actually spend time with our family; but more a core group of "orphaned" friends. There's a lot more to say about that and I will do a separate post about it with photos. But in summary: It was awesome
  • My computer broke. Well, actually I should say that my technologically inept mother sent a virus via email to us. Which my husband, who has the mouse-clicking skills of a wildebeest opened by mistake.Long story short- we have been computerless for seven days. That's practically seven YEARS in the blogging world.
  • It seems my slackness in blogging has lost a follower. Boo. We're down to 61. But I have no fear, the cuteness that is my child will win them back. At least, I hope.
  • For the past 5 days, we've been saying that we're going to buy a Christmas Tree. And then we don't. 
  • To counteract that little bit of Holiday Procrastination, Beatrice Kate and I put up some of our indoor house decorations. Beatrice Kate then promptly broke two items; including a Shepard for a manger scene. Jesus may not appreciate that.
  • My husband seems to be channeling his inner Clark Griswold and has spent the past few days planning an elaborate holiday light show for our home's exterior. I sent him to Home Depot for a plastic bin and he came back with two boxes of Roofing Adapters to hold lights to your house. If he times it to music, it's going on You Tube and I'm charging money for spectators.
  • Beatrice Kate has grown leaps and bounds developmentally (as well as physically) over the last two weeks. Practically overnight she's added words and phrases, and can do more things independently (thankyouverymuch) than ever before. I'll do a Slices of Life post soon because it's really quite astounding.
  • That being said, the Durham County Child Development Services folks (fancy speak for: people who tell you where your preemie is at developmentally) are coming next week with a physical therapist. Bea is still toe-walking; and as cute as it is... it's a no-no in the Preemie World. 
  • I'm also having her freakish ability to memorize and repeat sounds evaluated. It's beyond strange.
That's it. I promise, I'll be better at updating this. No matter how busy we get! Can we be friends again?


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

World Prematurity Day: The Holiday that shouldn't have to exist.

When you give birth to a baby who weighs less than two pounds, no one knows what kind of flowers to send. A big congratulatory bouquet of daisies, or an arrangement that strikes a more somber note? Perhaps something pretty, but blue, like hydrangea, or something tiny like a bonsai tree. No baby's breath, since the baby in question is likely to be breathing with the aid of a ventilator. How do you say it with flowers, when what you want to say is, "Congratulations on creating a whole new person! I hope she makes it through the week!" - Alexa Stevenson, Half Baked: The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn and How We Both Learned to Breath
  • 355 M&Ms
  • 7 iPhones
  • 2 cups of coffee
  • A rack of baby back ribs
  • A big can of soup
  • A toaster
  • 2 footballs
  • A quart of 2% milk
  • A desk lamp
  • A one-week-old Rottweiler puppy
What do these things have in common? If you guessed, "Things that weigh the same as Beatrice Kate at birth", you would be right. 2 pounds, 3 ounces. Nine hundred and ninety three grams:


Babies shouldn't be measured in sub-kilos:
 

Beatrice Kate isn't alone in her struggle with prematurity. Our family, we're not alone either. One in every eight babies in the US is born too early.
That's 1400 families who will begin their NICU Journey by the end of today. That's 1400 new parents who will take the wild ride on the NICU Roller Coaster. Who will be sick to their stomachs every time the phone rings because, "It could be the hospital calling." 1400 is too many. 1 is too many.

Today is World Prematurity Day. A day dedicated to raising awareness to the 13 million babies born prematurely around the world. Hopefully one day, all the attention we're bringing to the increasing prematurity trend today, will help end prematurity and One in Eight can be None in Eight.

It's hard to believe that the same baby who weighed less than a toaster is the very same happy, vibrant, beautiful toddler we have running around here these days. But she is:
And that's because of organizations like March of Dimes, who funded research and education programs that played a vital role in Beatrice Kate's survival during her early days.

So today, we're joining thousands of other bloggers, preemie parents and advocates to Pipe Up for Preemies. We're even wearing purple in honor of Beatrice Kate and all her Preemie Pals. Because, even though our story has a happy ending; many others aren't as lucky.

Prematurity is the number one killer of newborns. And it needs to stop. Soon.
 If you're new to our site, and especially if you are a fellow preemie family just starting your NICU Journey, please know this: You are not alone. The NICU can be a scary place. It is a scary place. But within the walls of medical jargon, alarms, monitors and codes; I hope you can find a sense of community, a sense of family. Reach out to organizations like March of Dimes. Reach out to us. Even if it's just for a shoulder to cry on and you need a fresh box of tissues, or you want someone to celebrate a 25 gram weight gain with...


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