Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday With Grandma


Today the family went out to see Grandma. While there Alyce helped Grandma with her flower beds. As you can see below she was a big help. In that picture Grandma was teaching Alyce how to water flowers. Later on Alyce helped everyone by taking all of the pulled weeds and clippings and throwing them away. Grandma's dog Bandit was keeping an eye on the situation to make sure we didn't get carried away with all of the yard work.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Strabismus Part 2

The goal of Alyce having Strabismus surgery is more than cosmetic. It is important that she have binocular vision before age 2. Binocular vision means that when you look at something each eye gets a different picture and your brain stitches them together for a single picture. Vision that is not binocular would generate double images of two different things. The reason why it needs to be fixed before age two is that at an early age the brain is malleable. If we left her eyes unaligned eventually her brain would choose one eye as the dominant while ignoring the input of the other. Over time she would eventually become blind in the weaker eye.

The above statement is important because after Alyce's surgery she did achieve binocular vision, however it wasn't perfect. For the first week or so her eyes aligned perfectly, but after that her right eye started to drop. She compensated for the drop in the right eye by tilting her head to the right. Depending on what she looked at it could be up to 45 degrees. While this made for some really great pictures it wasn't something we wanted to leave hanging out there. So after a few more doctor visits it was determined that Alyce needed a second surgery. We would have to wait 6 months for her next surgery so we could allow her eyes time to heal from the first. This time however we would have to patch her good eye for the entire six months rather than just a month before her first surgery.

Patching an eye means that we had to cover her good eye so that she had to use her bad eye. Forcing her to use her bad eye stopped her brain from forgetting about the good eye. We covered her good eye by using really big band-aids designed for that purpose. Alyce was surprisingly agreeable to the whole process. She didn't complain much and didn't have the manual dexterity to peel off the cover.

The second surgery came after her first birthday. This time Alyce did not need an MRI so she only had to be put under once. The surgery was completed with no complications and again both eyes needed to be adjusted. The recovery was a little rougher than the last time in that she woke up in a cranky mood or at least she complained about it more. We think she was just hungry seeing how she hadn't eaten since before she went to bed the previous night. The nurses gave her some vanilla wafers (her first cookie ever) and that seemed to improve her mood. Another side effect of the surgery that we had both times was Alyce cried red bloody tears. Luckily the bleeding stopped rather quickly but it was still hard on mom and me.

Six months after the second surgery Alyce was given a clean bill of health. Her eyes had healed well, they were aligned, and she wasn't tilting her head. We have a followup appointment in September that should be her last provided no additional treatment is needed. Mom and I are very grateful for the care provided by the St. Louis Children's Hospital and can't thank them enough.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Time With Grandma

Last night Mom and I got a little time off to go to the movies courtesy of Grandma. We went to go see the new Batman movie while Grandma got to spend some quality time babysitting Alyce. It sounded like Alyce had a great night of playing with her baby doll, sliding on the slide, and having a minor run-in with a highlighter.

Thanks again Grandma!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


One aspect of Alyce's life that we haven't discussed is her strabismus. Strabismus is a condition normally called cross-eyed where a person cannot align both eyes under normal conditions. There are different types of strabismus and in all cases it does require some treatment. Alyce's case was first diagnosed at her 3 month checkup by our pediatrician. At that point we were sent to a specialist in pediatric opthamology at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Alyce's case was different than most in that her eyes deviated vertically rather than horizontally. Her eyes didn't cross, but pointed differently up and down. The doctor seemed interested by this and wanted to take some pictures of Alyce for his records. A childhood model at three months! He wanted us to come back in month to see if the situation progressed or regressed and at that point would determine if surgery was needed.

It turned out that surgery was needed and was scheduled for the middle part of April 2007. Leading up to the surgery Alyce needed to have an MRI of her eye muscles. It is impossible to get a 6 month old to sit still in a loud MRI machine so she had to be put under sedation for the procedure. The worst part of that experience was that the only vein they could find for an IV was in her forehead; up to that point they had stuck her unsuccessfully in both arms. It is hard being a parent seeing your child in pain and not being able to do anything about it. I have to give the nurses credit they did all they could to minimize Alyce's discomfort.

Strabismus surgery requires repositioning of they eye muscles where they attach to the eye. By adjusting the connection point you can make a muscle either stronger or weaker in a specific direction. If memory serves each eye is controlled by six muscles two on top, two on bottom, and one on each side. In Alyces case they had to work on the muscles on both eyes. What surprised us about that was it seemed like Alyce had one "good" eye and one "bad" eye so why did both need to be worked on? The explanation we received was that both eyes had issues, but since she had a dominant eye it looked right even though it wasn't. The surgury went off without a hitch and after the longest hour and a half of our life our daughter was back in our arms.

The recovery post surgery looked much worse than it actually was. The whites of Alyce's were red, she was groggy, and her eyes felt scratchy. After a nap she seemed to bounce back to normal with no averse effects from the surgery.

In later posts I will explain the continuation of this story. I will give this hint, it does have a happy ending.

Monday, July 21, 2008

So Cute a Picture Can't Contain it.


To be filed under the too cute banner we have Alyce walking around with this on her head.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Words to Add to the List

Alyce has had a few new words this week. One new word shoes showed up when she grabbed a shoe held it up to mom and said shoes! The second word is actually two words but we will count it as one since only mom and I can understand it. The two new words are fruit loops which comes out as oop oops.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Alyce Has a Cheeseburger

Last night Alyce had her first cheeseburger. Up to this point whenever presented with the cheeseburger food option she would give us one of her patented Nos. For an unknown reason she was very interested in them and when offered she took mommy's cheeseburger and refused to give it back. That cheeseburger thief!

For the fans of

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday with Grandma

On Sunday we traveled to my hometown to spend the day with Grandma. We started off with meeting Grandma for church. We had lunch or breakfast (Alyce had pancakes) after the service at Cowan's a local diner. We finished up the trip by heading to the park for some fun at a playground and then fed the ducks. Note: ducks do not like Cheerios. We will have to bring some bread next time.

Thanks for a great day Grandma!

Booster Seat

On Saturday the family went out to run some errands but before that we ate at a Lion's Choice for lunch. This common occurrence was made uncommon due to the fact it was the first time Alyce used a booster seat. I'm not sure why we even decided to try a booster seat, but try we did and it was a great success. Alyce behaved so well we rewarded her with a $.31 dipped ice cream cone.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Big Fun at the Pool


Thursday the family along with our neighbors Jeff and Liz went to the local pool for some fun in the sun. At first Alyce was a little skittish of the water. She enjoyed walking around the baby pool and getting in and out of the pool, but wasn't interested in getting more than her legs wet. After a while we decided it was time for her to get really wet. We took her to the big pool and after a few minutes of being held she finally relaxed and began to enjoy herself. We sat on the seat in the big pool for awhile and then Jeff and Liz wanted to try out the lazy river. So, we did that for a little bit. Once we were finished with that, Alyce noticed the slide and she wanted to do that. Well, she's too small for the slide in the big pool, but they do have a smaller one in the baby pool area, so Daddy asked if she was big enough to slide on that one. She said yes, so up Alyce and Daddy went. I stood at the bottom of the slide waiting for her to come down. It didn't take her long and she was ready to keep doing it over and over. And over and over. We eventually made our way back into the big pool and Alyce had a floating toy with her this time. It's shaped like a ring and Alyce gets in the middle of it. It didn't take her long to figure out what it did, so she floated around a little bit. Then it was time to go home and gets some pizza!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pretty Shoes


One of Alyce's favorite things to do these days is wear grown-up shoes. She found a really pretty pair of Mommy's shoes in Mommy's closet the other day and now she likes to wear them all over the house. They look really nice with Mommy's purse that she likes to carry around too. Mommy used to like to wear Grams' (Grandma Abling) shoes too when she was young. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

The Parties Continue

To finish up our Independence Day weekend on Saturday we journeyed out to our Uncle Eric and Aunt Marilyn's house for the annual Independence Day family get together. The food at this party is always top notch as Eric cooks up a mountain of ribs and the side dishes are always great. Mom's green bean casserole is always a big hit as well.

This year's party is different than past parties because of the large amount of babies in attendance. If you count Alyce there were four babies in total. The other kids were Andy, Jack, and Rex. Andy is just about Alyce's age and took all of our attention to keep the two of them from walking all over creation. Jack and Rex are still pretty young and while they are able to crawl and cruise along they aren't yet able to make a decent attempt at getting away from their parents. I think next year will be the year that the kids can separate from the parents and start to do kid stuff on their own.

The evening culminated in yet another fireworks show. Mom, Alyce, and I all sat down by the lake to get a good look at the show. I think Alyce was just about tuckered out as she relaxed in my lap for the entire show. Alyce must have picked up on some social cues over the past two nights because this time during a good firework she let out some audible "oohs" and "aahs" plus she clapped for some of the fireworks. After the show it was getting late and it was time to go. Alyce was up past her bedtime for the 3rd night in a row.

I have to give her a lot of credit, she handled the changes to her routine very well with only a few minor issues here and there. In all the weekend was a big success. The family had fun and Alyce behaved herself as much as you can expect a 20 month to behave.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


We are proud to announce that is moving to The change is in name only, the layout will remain the same. We wanted to make browsing to this site easier and figured this was the easiest way.

Update: This change can take up the 3 days to makes its way around the internet, so if isn't working for you yet, it should soon.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More Independence Day Madness

As mentioned in an earlier post the family had an Independence day party to attend on Friday night. This party was being thrown by our friends Josh, Tammy, and their son Gideon. A lot of the other attendees were old friends of mine from a previous job. We did show up a bit late to the party as Alyce got to her nap late and thus slept in a bit longer. It was to our benefit though because we kept Alyce up past 10:00 (bedtime is usually 8:00) for the second night in a row. Throughout the entire party Alyce was a perfect angel. She stayed in the back yard and sat in our laps during the fireworks display. This fireworks display while not a professional show like last night was a lot closer and louder to Alyce. Surprisingly Alyce wasn't scared of the noise or the flashes.

The big entertainment for Alyce and Mom at the party was baby Gideon. Gideon is four weeks old and Alyce was allowed closer to him. Alyce was quite interested in the "baby" as she kept saying "baby", pointed, and smiled at Gideon. I believe there is a picture floating around of Alyce holding Gideon, but I do not have it. Alyce didn't have any problems with Mom holding Gideon, however she did have a problem with me doing the same. She wanted to get into my lap any time I was holding Gideon. It will be interesting to see how she reacts whenever she gets a brother or a sister.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Trip to the Zoo

On Friday July 4th we invited my brother Tom, his wife Mary, their son Jack, and Grandma to come along with us for a nice day at the Zoo. The weather was great and Alyce and Jack were both in good spirits. Of all of the animals we viewed the Hippos, Elephants, and Penguins were the big hits. They all tend to move around a lot and their habitats are easily viewable from a stroller. Alyce is starting to get to the age where tooling around on the stroller only lasts for so long before she starts asking to get "down" and pointing at her stroller belt buckle. As long as we keep moving and she has a juice box we don't hear too many complaints. Sadly we did have to leave before the rest of our party because we had to get Alyce home for a nap. We had a Independence Day party planned for later that night and we wanted Alyce to have as much sleep as possible. She was going to be staying up past her bedtime for the second night in a row at this point.

Alyce's First Fireworks Display

Last Thursday July 3rd Alyce had her first fireworks display. After dinner with our neighbors Jeff and Liz we packed up Alyce into the family Ford Freestyle and picked a spot to view the local fireworks display. We held onto our location for an hour and a half until the show started. Alyce and I played in the back of the car which folds down into a nice play area while mom relaxed and bought some snacks from the local supermarket. While waiting we decided to invite our neighbors Jeff and Liz plus Grams and Grandpa to the extravaganza as well. When it was all set to we had seven people in our little group. The fireworks display was top notch and it lasted around 20 minutes. Alyce wasn't scared of the fireworks and at times was more interested in the kids next to us than the show. The whole evening was a success and it was a great start to an Independence Day weekend.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ready for Summer


Yesterday Mom went shopping with our friend Tammy and her son Gideon to the mall. There was much shopping success as Mom got Alyce lots of summer outfits and a few spring ones for next year. The above picture is my favorite out of the bunch. The matching hair clip finishes the whole outfit. Enjoy a better picture of her haircut as well.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Alyce Has a New Haircut


Last night Alyce had her second haircut. While it didn't go as well as her first one there weren't any tears shed. Because of Alyce's squirming Beth the stylist cut the bangs a bit short. Luckily nothing is permanent with hair.

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