Tuesday, April 21, 2015

March for Babies- Why We Walk

Please visit my March of Dimes page here!

If you haven't participated in the March of Dimes "March for Babies" then you might not know what a huge event it is.  The first year Scott's brother joined us, he expressed surprise "there's so many people."  It really is huge and an eye opener to how many people are connected to premature birth.  There's the huge crowd of  preemie survivors and their families.  Cute babies in their strollers, young teenagers gabbing with friends, and the survivors in-between, sometimes hoisted on their dad's shoulder for the long walk through Waikiki.

 Family members proudly wearing shirts with birth stats emblazoned across them.  Numbers that any NICU parent knows so well, you know how much they defined your child's birth, numbers that indicated your child's chance of survival.

Two notable factors in a baby's survival, their age and weight.  So, as a preemie's parent, you know that everything is measured in weeks and days...and every little bit counts.
Babies are typically born between 38-42 weeks gestation.  Your due date falls on 40 weeks.
Survival rates for premature birth:
26 weeks: About 75% survival rate
25 weeks: 55-70%

You see numbers and you have an idea of how long their hospital stay, how many complications and blood transfusions their little bodies had to endure.  And you know the odds, so you know why the word "miracle" is used so often.

The other faces in the crowd show the other side of premature birth, the loss.  There are those wearing shirts with angel wings around the names.

These families and friends are walking with the same joy and pride, but those angel wings tell you there's an empty spot in their midst and in their hearts.   You'll also the see the friends rallying to support them. Check out the Tam family and their Team Arianna and Brianna, amazing!

Well, if you know us (and since you're reading this, you probably do), then you're connected to both sides of prematurity.  The miracle and the loss.

I know we tend to talk more about our successes and survival, but, personally, the biggest need that makes this walk so important to me is losing Allison and Rory.  Allison, our scrappy 1 lb 12 oz, seemed to be doing so well, but developed NEC, a condition primarily seen only in preemies.  It is the second leading cause of death in premature babies.  I don't talk too much about it because no matter how I try to word it, it gets sad, it gets dark,  it gets raw.  And it's hard to see those words in front of me.  But know that I believe in this walk because I have an ever present need to have good things happen in their honor.  It will never ever make up for everything we lost, but I can't stop trying to tip the scale.  Actually,  if everyone could just make a commitment to creating, saying, and doing more good in the world period, I'd really love that too=)

What we do have an easier time talking about is the blessing we did get to bring home.

Meet our
26 week 1 day (and at that early an age, every day means something)
2 pound 4 oz

She is amazing!  I used to say that we gave her 3x the hugs and 3x the kisses because we had all this love to give.  And somehow she manages to give us more love and joy.  She is 4 years old, just about to turn five this July.

She has new numbers now
4 years old
42 inches tall
Hovering around 33-34 pounds

I'll write our yearly Slugger update this week, so stay tuned for that!

Besides a sensitive immune system, we've got a pretty good ER routine down thanks to her biannual visits to the ER (Slugger=6 or 7, little sister Sunny=0), she's healthy and happy.  I'm so thankful to the research, the medicine, the doctors, the social workers, the amazing nurse practitioners and RNs who took care of our girls and took care of us.  The best thing we can think of to say thanks is to pay it forward and continue to strive for more research and support for other families who are just starting their NICU journey now.

Thank you for your donations.  But, more importantly, thank you for being our support every step and every day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Slugger is 3 and Half!! [March of Dime 2014 coming up!]

Age: 3 and 1/2 years (or 1,352 days and counting)
Weight:  28-31 lb (she was at 31 for her last check-up but dropped a few pounds after being sick)
Big Events of the past year: Loving preschool!  2 ER trips (oh, this girl), first trip to Disneyland, performing in preschool plays, starting to sleep over at Nana and Papa's house like a big girl (she's about 2 steps away from taking over Aunty Sara's room=)

It's that time of the year where we ready ourselves to walk in the March of Dimes (Keao's fundraising page and Scott's fundraising page) and we check in with you to let you know how our little star is going.  So here we go!

Well, little Miss Slugger is 1,352 days old.  Earlier today, I wrote some thoughts about our family this past year in a separate post here, but I like to keep Slugger's updates fun…well, because that is Slugger.  Both our girls have had attachments to stuffed animals but I've noticed some key differences that reflect their personalities.  Sunny has 4 stuffed animals/dolls.    She carries them everywhere, with a baby blanket.  She pretends to feed them, she hugs them and pats their backs and puts them down for "nai nai."  She's the mama and they are her babies.  Some of them (like Elmo and Minnie Mouse) used to be Slugger's and she also used to carry them around everywhere.  But they weren't her babies, they were her pals…her friends.  Sunny is our little mama, and Slugger is our entertainer, the life of the party.  She's a little socialite who loves people and doesn't mind a little attention every now and again=)

So, one of the big milestones is that she started preschool at Pali View Baptist.  I never thought we would consider preschool.  Hey, I never went to preschool and I did just fine.  I didn't want to rush school and I wanted to let her enjoy the freedom of childhood.  So August came and preschools everywhere started and something happened that we never really thought about.  Slugger didn't start preschool.  But all her friends did!  Which left our little social butterfly home alone (albeit with her baby sister and ultra-cool parents) or at daycare with…babies.  We really missed the social aspect of preschool and decided that it would be a better fit for Slugger in particular.  So, we finally enrolled her, even if a few months late.  But we were fortunate to find an opening at Pali View Baptist.  It is close to our house, right on my way to work, and when we went to visit, we fell in love.  Turns out we knew the Preschool Director and Slugger's teacher went to high school with Scott.  We are so thrilled with Slugger's preschool.   Every day, the names of her "bess fren" change and we seem to have circled through her entire class several times.  Apparently, she's bess frens with everyone between the ages of 2 and 7 in Kaneohe.

And Kaiser is so good.  They just schedule appointments with specialists and so we just show up when we get the appointment card.  She had a visit with an eye doctor and at the end, the doctor turned and said "great news, looks like everything checks out perfectly."  We asked if we would be back in a few years with Sunny and she said "oh, no, this is just for Slugger because of her prematurity, this isn't a typical appointment for 3 year olds." Oh.  Awesome, we didn't know.  But, yeah!!  Yet another check off the preemie list!  We didn't know this one was on the list so maybe there's some other checkpoints down the line, but I feel like we've almost fully closed that door.

Of course, she's our ER queen.  Not a year goes by with one or two ER visits.   I stay up late editing photos while the family sleeps and I always do a last minute walk through and check on the girls before I call it a night.  One night, I was standing in the doorway watching the girls sleep and it just seemed like Casey was breathing a bit too fast.  Mommy paranoia sets in and I turn the light on and spend the next hour alternating between watching her chest and torso and googling.  Finally, I wake up Scott and we took her in to the ER.  It's sad to say but it's such a relief when the doctors see what you're seeing.  So I'm not a crazy person who over thinks everything?  I don't know why I struggle with guilt whenever I take the girls to the doctor or ER.  Every ER visit we have had, the nurses and doctors have been so kind and reassuring and never question why we are there.  They always say "better to be safe."  And so far, every visit has been warranted.  Although she was alert and attentive, her chest retractions were showing that she was working harder than usual to breathe.  The doc told us that this was not asthma, just asthma-like episodes most likely a result of her past respiratory problems.  Preemie life rears it's head again.

Slugger brings us so much joy.  She has such a big heart and feels things so deeply.  She's twirling in the store just because walking brings her joy.  But it also means that she bursts into tears over the horror of being denied a snack. 

And she's such a character.  The world is a stage and we're in the middle of a musical…a musical that mainly plays the same two Frozen songs over and over again.  She sings and dances non-stop…although dancing is compounded by her sometimes lack of grace and foot coordination=)  Lately, she's started to act out scenes from movies.  Last night, she put on oven mitts and acted out the Queen Elsa's coronation scene from Frozen…over and over again.  Just a 30 second scene, but she kept acting it over over and over again, never breaking form.  Sometimes she says she's going to do something and I freak out and she stops me "I'm just pretending, mommy."

Just recently, she underwent her own little rebranding and transformation. Well, you can just see for yourself!

Introducing our new pixie girl!

Thank you for all your love and support!!  Keep on shining!

Count your life in days

Our Family
It's been an….hmmm, "interesting" would probably be the most positive way to spin it…interesting year.   One of the biggest milestone in our family lives occurred just 2 days after Scott turned 37 when Scott was unexpectedly let go from his position with the church.  We knew they were suffering financial difficulties but frankly, it was still a shock.  I remember telling one of my friends and trying to downplay it, I told her “it’s okay.  It’s just a job.”  And she said “but it’s not just a job, it’s much more than that.” She pretty much hit the nail on the head.  It wasn’t just a job, it was our life.  So, now we find ourselves in a new season, a season of adjustment.  New routines, new patterns, shifting circles, shifting support systems, a whole other new and strange life that we’re learning to live in.

Scott has been a stay-at-home dad (and an amazing one at that) while hitting the pavement and applying for every job we see open, taking night classes and certification classes.  I continue to work at UH and God has been blessing my photography business which is keeping me busy on the weekends and has made for many late nights.  Through this season, we have focused on family time, even seeing this as an opportunity, a blessing to be able to spend more time together and with the girls.  In a few years, Taylor will be in preschool and we wouldn’t be able to spend entire days in her company.  What a gift this was for Scott to share this time with our little one during an age where she’s truly developing into a little person.   This season won’t last forever so we are cherishing this time with both our girls.

The triplets changed the way I see life in so many ways.  We had some warning that we might lose Rory when they sent us to a specialist after our 20 week ultrasound.  We cried, and prayed, hoped, and cried, and prayed up until her birth.  But with Allie, there was no warning.  She was doing so amazing.  It was Casey that the doctors were worried about.  She was the sick one that gave us concern while Allie seemed to be thriving and sprouting.  And then it happened in a flash, within 24 hours, she was gone. 

19 days.  19 days was all we had with her.   When the girls were first born and we looked at the long hospital stay stretched ahead of us, the mom of the baby next to us gave me advice.  She assured me that it was okay if I couldn’t visit every day.  She had other children, she even had to go back to work so she could save her leave for when her son came home.  It sounded right, it sounded wise.  But I never did it, and I am forever grateful that I didn’t.  Because I didn’t have a lifetime with Allie.  Well, I did...but who knew a lifetime could be just 19 days.

Sometimes your life isn’t counted in decades.  Sometime it’s not even counted in years.  Sometimes it is just days.  In my life since the girls were born, I now count everything in days. Sadly, since our girls were born, some of our friends have experienced losswhere days were not even an option for them.   It's hard lesson that not all parents get to see their children grow up, get married and meet their beautiful grand-children.  We're not promised that.  We're not even promised tomorrow.

Our bedtime routine with the girls is split.  Scott carries Slugger to her bedroom when it’s her bedtime and I carry Sunny when it is hers.  I pray over Sunny and every day I pray thanks over the day we had and replay some of the highlighs.  And at the end, I think “man, today was a good day.”  Maybe there was a crisis at work, or maybe I spent an hour scraping the melted cheese out of the oven from when I accidentally flipped the pizza over…but all I remember is cuddles with the girls watching Doc McStuffins or laughing while Sunny chases the hapless baby chicks around the day.  And every day, I can firmly make that announcement…”today was a good day.”  I count myself very blessed that I get to say that.

Today was a good day.  A very good day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

March For Babies 2013

This year's March for Babies was another beautiful sunny day in Waikiki.  The walk begins at 7:30 am in Kapiolani Park and we started out fresh and energetic.  But by the time we hit the turn-around point, the morning sun was blaring, all the babies were fed up with being in their strollers and we were soon a group of slightly sweaty, flushed walkers carrying adorable babies and pushing empty strollers=).

This is our third year walking the March for Babies and I think we're only now starting to get the hang of it.  After showing up so late last year that no walkers were in sight and we had to make up our own impromptu race course, we were right on time.  We were dressed from the oncoming heat despite the chill of the morning air and were actually there to be able to start with everyone else.  We were joined by Scott's parents, Papa and Nana Lee, Scott's brother, Stanton, and our friends, Joy, John, and Jess (we seem to have a lot of friends with "J" names).  And this was the first year for our friends, Tom and Grace, whose twins spend their first few weeks of life in the NICU as well.  

We might have been a little vague in explaining the walk to them as they thought we were leisurely strolling around the park and so Tom walked the course from Kapiolani Park to Magic Island and back in his rubbah slippahs.  What a good sport!

Even though we are no pros at this walk, I was still surprised at how emotional an experience it was.  Many of you know our story so well, and I feel like we have the biggest support network in the world.  We proudly wear our "Team Slugger" shirts designed, created, and printed by Roketo and the girls wear outfits, home-made by yours truly, tired-stays-up-all-night-with-iron-on-designs mama.  But I found myself walking in a sea of walkers with shirts that told their own stories of heartbreak and survival.  I couldn't help but cry, both in sorry and in joy as I saw families celebrating their miracles.  Children that started off weighing just a pound or two...now healthy toddlers, if-not a little hot and grouchy riding in their strollers.  Miracles.  This was the word that came to mind.  There's no other word it.  Their little frames amazingly strong, they were survivors.

I smiled at a little boy riding on his dad's shoulder with proud mama just a few steps back.  We struck up a conversation, exchanging birth weights and days spent in the hospital sitting by an isolette.  Smiling now...because this truly felt like a celebration...a parade past Waikiki tourists...waving and smiling with  unfettered joy.
And then there were the tears that you couldn't hold back when you saw T-shirts with angel wings stenciled around names.    Large groups and families still proudly wearing those shirts, still showering that child with love even if it was only a memory.

We were most impressed by this humongous crowd for Team Arianna and Team Brianna.  They actually had a group stretch before the walk started and carried a huge banner.  After the walk, I was able to find their website and read Nicole's story of her twin girls and we even connected through email. 

This was my brother-in-law's first year walking with us and the first thing he said when he saw the crowds was "wow, this is huge."  It is...you wouldn't expect it to be.  But it is amazing how many people have been affected by prematurity.  Which is one of the reasons why we're so proud to have raised money for the March of Dimes.

Team Slugger Hawaii was once again joined by Team Slugger NYC, led by BC classmate Yong and his family.  Their team keeps getting bigger and bigger every year. 

Thank you!!!  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Two and Half Years + March of Dimes Fundraising

Slugger at 2 1/2 years

To help us reach our annual goal, please visit our fundraising page 

Age:  2 years 8 months old
Weight: 26 lb (still in the 25% percentile)
Big Events:  X-Ray, CAT Scan, surgery, and 2nd trip to ER, first trip to zoo, first trip to Sea Life Park, first gig as a flower girl at Uncle John-John's wedding
Milestones: counting to 14, all letters (upper case and lower case),  starting to hold real conversations, really embracing being a big sister

Every three months, Scott and I find ourselves saying "this is our favorite age."  Then Slugger gets a little older and we decide "no, this is our favorite age."  I wonder what age she'll be when we no longer hold that sentiment=)

Slowly but surely, I'm seeing her morph from a toddler into a little girl.  Envisioning her going off to school was never something I could even imagine, and now I see the very real possibility.

We had a few scares which I'll explain.  I'm always hesitant because the worry that this knowledge might someday hinder her, whether it be access to healthcare coverage or whatnot.  That's one of the reasons why we use her nickname, but still, probably not perfect.  But, I know, somewhere out there is a worried or a grieving mom who will stumble upon this blog and read it backwards and forwards, because that is what I did on many a tear-filled night...so I still hope we can share our story openly...for now.

When she was six months old, I noticed a bump on the top of her head.  We took her to a specialist and he identified it as a cyst.  He asked if she had to wear head gear in the NICU.  We were so surprised that he thought to ask.  He said it was common because that was one of the pressure points, it was just a harmless cyst and would most likely come and go.  And it did disappear.  But as she neared her second birthday, it felt like the bump was back.  Just the cyst, I thought.  Fortunately, her second year check-up came up quickly and I mentioned it off-handedly to the pediatrician.  She felt the bump and said, no, this time it isn't a cyst, it feels different.  She said it was probably nothing but scheduled us for an X-ray.  X-ray showed a lesion on the bone and the doctors said, once again, probably nothing but we need more info to determine what it is...so we scheduled a CAT scan.  That was a lot more scary because she had to be sedated.  The scan still couldn't help them identify it but it did show something there.  So, we opted for surgery to remove the lesion and have the bone tested for abnormalities.

I must say, after all this crazy girl has been through, I wasn't too worried.  She always exhibits these strange and scary things but then amazes everyone with coming through with nothing wrong.  Still, it was about that time that my cousin, just 31, died of brain cancer and we learned that 2 family members had brain tumors.  So we scheduled her surgery as quickly as possible.  Nothing but praises again, the surgery showed no growth, the bone test came back absolutely normal.  We'll continue to monitor her, but she sailed through the whole experience with flying colors.  She shocked us by having no after-effects from the big day...she was trying to do front rolls in our living room that night, stitches and all.   That gave us heart-attacks.  But she didn't seem to know she just had surgery.

We still have to do some follow-ups to keep monitoring...and she also has a follow-up with the cardiologist to see how her heart is doing.  But beyond that, all of our expectations have been greatly exceeded.  We still remember the sit-downs the NICU doctors and NPs had with us two and half years ago.  She could experience delays at any time in any given skill or behavior.   There could be some down the road.  But as of now, we just haven't seen a single hint of it.  She's a charming, sassy, brilliant little genius.

She picks up things so quickly.  Thanks to shows like "Super Why" she knows the entire alphabet, upper case and lower case letters and recognizes numbers.  She knows colors (pink and purple are her favorite) and shapes (I was surprised when she pointed to our light fixture and said "diamond").   One day, Scott told her she could have a cookie and she said "I want five."  We were floored, thought she just got lucky.  Except at breakfast, she ate all her favorite Vienna Sausage up so I gave her one more.  She then told me "I want two."  I put another one on her plate and she said "I want three." Bwwaaaahaa, this girl is going to be fun to watch!

She sings and dances constantly...she's not very graceful in the dance area yet.  I think she's too heavily influenced by Yo Gabba Gabba so I can't really blame her.  She loves the movie "Tangled" which she could watch every day, but she also asks to watch "Monster's, Inc" and "Shrek."  

And how awesome is it to have a conversation with a toddler.  Her favorite new question is "What you doing, mommy?" She tells us when things scare her and she always insists on looking at the moon first before going into the house when we come home at night.

She loves to take pictures.  She knows where Scott keeps his digital point-and-shoot camera and she takes a billion pictures of just our living room.  It's also cute that she's heavily influenced by Peppa Pig, because I hear her telling her subjects (like the TV or the toilet) "Ready...Steady...Go!"  Her poor baby sister, Sunny.  Slugger likes to take pictures of her up-close and personal, 3 inches from Sunny's face with the flash firing away.

Speaking of Sunny, they had a bit of a rough start.  When we brought Sunny home, Slugger seemed to hope we would just forget about this new baby.  She'd try to cover her with mounds of blankets and pillows...I guess, out of sight= out of mind.  We couldn't ever leave the two alone together.  Somewhere, Slugger just fell in love.  She just loves her little sister.  If I ever try to take just Slugger somewhere, she'll spend the ride howling for her baby sister.  And no one can make baby Sunny smile the way her older sister can.  I realize things might change, but I love this.  I never realized how much a parent just hopes that their children love each other the way their parents love them.  I hope they will be there for each other.  Always.

I love that they look so different from each other.  When Sunny was born, Scott and I both marveled at how much she resembled the twins.  She still had her own look but I thought this wonderful gift gave us just a hint of what our twins might have looked like.  But Sunny is not her sisters, she's her very own unique person.  She's a whole different world.  She brought a lot of healing into our family.  She brought in a wealth of new experiences and memories to temper the bad we still carry with us.  We returned to the very same hospital for her delivery.  Actually, she was delivered in the very same operation room as her big sisters and Scott had to get dressed in the very same room where just 2  years before, he had to wait...scared and alone.  As a precaution, they had a RT and a NICU nurse present (one of our NICU nurses from Slugger) and I started to freak out.  It was like it was happening all over again...I started to sob hysterically and our nurse, Carey ran over and held my face and prayed until I felt peace and calm take over.  And from that moment on, everything was new...and better.  The next minute, Scott was by my side, cracking jokes and then Sunny was born.  A perfect little princess with a full head of hair, a mellow, happy baby who is just thriving beautifully.

We still have our moments, when Slugger is snuggling with us on the couch, or twirling around singing like Princess Rapunzel, we wonder what that moment would be if her sisters were still here in our family. There are still moments alone when I let myself remember and cry.   Life...living gets easier but remembering never does.

In a few weeks, our family will be doing our annual March of Dimes walk.  Once again, Slugger will wear a shirt with the names of her two sisters...but now we are blessed with yet another little girl to celebrate what our amazing little 2 lb 4 oz 26 weeker has accomplished and survived...and to always remember two sisters we wish were here to spoil and hug and kiss and just watch grow up.  But all in all, we are taking every day for what they are...blessings.  We are blessed.

We are so blessed.
To help us reach our annual goal, please visit our fundraising page www.marchforbabies.org/for_daddys_girls

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Slugger- 2 years old


Age:  2 years old (and a month)
Weight: 25 lbs.
Height: ~34" tall
She is in the 25% for her age for weight and height.

~8 am Wake up
     She asks for milk right away which she drinks while watching "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse"
    Breakfast time
Noon- 1.5-2 hr nap 
2 pm  Lunch
5 pm Snack or early dinner
7 pm Snack or second dinner
10 pm Bedtime

She loves scrambled eggs (fresh from our two egg-laying chickens, no salt or pepper), turkey bacon.  She takes after daddy in that she loves meat, sausage, bacon, kalua pig.  You have to give her the turkey bacon at the end of breakfast or she'll only eat that and nothing else.  She has started to eat cereal and milk out of a bowl with a spoon.

She loves apples and grapes but I think apples are her favorite.  Still true to her first loves of broccoli and zucchini.  And sadly, she recognizes the drive-thru of McDonalds and we hear "ies....ies....ies" from the backseat as she asks sweetly for french fries.

She's a horribly picky eater (just like her mom).  We struggle to find things...she'll try most things but she just won't eat most of it.  She'll eat a few bites and then proclaim she's done. Whereas if you give her something you know she'll like, she'll eat four times as much.  She's an avid snacker on goldfish crackers and veggie fries.  We hope between that and broccoli, she gets enough nutrition in the day.  She also seems to alternate meals.  She'll eat well at one meal and then hardly anything at the next meal.  She is going through a milk phase and asks for it throughout the day multiple times.  Just water and milk for this girl.

It's awesome to reach a point where her comprehension is advancing.  All we have to do is ask and she'll help us find the remote, or throw something away, or bring something to us.  Her vocabulary is growing but it is still limited.  However, that doesn't stop her from having full conversations with everyone and herself.  Her favorite thing to to do is to call us by name


"Yes, Slugger."

"...baby babble"



"Yes, Slugger"

"...baby babble."

And this might continue on for a while or so.  Words she knows well
Mommy     Daddy    Nana    Papa (Grandpa Pat)     Stanton (uncle)     John-John
Baaaa (Brad)    cow    moo   hor-hee (horse)   minnie ( for both mickey and minnie mouse)
il (milk)   peash (please)    moa (more)    wawa (water)    eeyore and elmo (bedtime stuffed animals)
Scah (Scott, which she likes to yell out)

She went through a phase where she sang "Old McDonald" constantly and thus that became the theme of her 2nd bday party.  Now, I never hear her sing it...her new song is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  She can't talk  yet but she does the melody and sounds out the words and it's shockingly dead-on.

She also counts.  You can tell by the intonation and the fact that she's pointing to things as she does it...but it doesn't become intelligible until she hits "eight...nine...ten."  She can't count one...two...three.  But she knows 8-9-10.  Scott is trying to teach her 7...and we figure we'll work backwards from there.

She loves to sing.  She sings to herself (all babble and self-composed melodies) in the bathtub or when she's playing by herself.  We have a napkin holder at the table and it has a metal rod with a bulbous end...it becomes her meal-time microphone that she likes to use.


-walks great
-can finally jump and get both feet to momentarily lose contact with the ground
-walks down the two stairs in our house without using a railing (scares us sometimes)
-climbs on everything
-can do a front roll (Uncle Ted helped teach her that)
-can draw amazingly well, loves to make circles and swirls
-just started putting two words together "moa peash" (more please)
-knows the parts of her body
-has fallen in love with pretending to cry or pretending to sleep

At 18 months, she was all about toys that made noise, music, or talked.  Now, she's obsessed with puzzles and books.  She has two books that she has to find things and those are her favorites.  "Where is this _______?"  She loves to draw.  We allow her to draw on herself.  Paper and her legs...okay.  Walls and furniture, not okay.

And she discovered the act of pretending.  At the end of every car ride, as soon as the car stops, she pretends to sleep.  She's actually got quite convincing that sometimes I think she's actually asleep.  She won't break character either as she helps you get her out of the carseat all with her eyes close.  She loves when we make a big fuss

"Oh, shhhhh, everyone, Slugger is asleep."

She starts to smile with her eyes still closed.

But if you bring up the idea of actual sleep...

"Oh, she's so tired...maybe she should go nai-nai"

She'll emphatically shake her head or say clearly "no,"  still keeping her eyes closed and the pretense going strong.  Then she loves "waking up" and we make a big fuss out of greeting her.

She's gotten a lot more affectionate.  She also watches more shows so she's happy to climb up on the couch and cuddle with you while she watches her shows.  We didn't realize she had so many favorite TV shows but she does watch them at her grandparents and babysitter's house.  It's not until she excitedly yelled out "Digo" while we were flipping through Netflix that we learned that she loves "Diego" and "Dora." "Super Why" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" area also now permanently on our TiVo.  Still, her ultimate favorite and one that she starts going crazy as soon as it starts playing, Yo Gabba Gabba.  I can't stand that show so we rarely let her watch it at home...when she was sick, we let her have a marathon of YGG.

She hugs and kisses good-bye and has gotten really comfortable with the friends in our lives.  She wants to be anywhere but home.  She recognizes when one of us is putting on "outside clothes" and runs to the door.  She'll break down crying when someone leaves without her.  She's also become daddy's girl.  In my last trimester, I had a rough time so daddy and Slugger spent a lot of quality time together.  She still loves me but I do get jealous sometimes=)  I miss when she clearly favored me=)

We seriously love this age.  She's just adorable and fun.  She's quick to cry but quicker to laugh.  And now she's going to be a big sister.  Literally any day now.  Which is why I'm trying to quickly bang out this blog.  Part of my nesting routine was I put some serious headwork into her baby book and realized how valuable this blog was in looking up important milestones.

2 years and 1 month.  How amazing!!!

At the end of May, she visited her cousins on the Big Island and went
to her second rodeo.  I was nervous she would be terrified of cows and horses
up-close and personal but it was the opposite.  I had to run after her to keep her
from climbing into the pens with them.
She met her newest cousin, Anaiah, and got to play with her
favorite buddy, Zylin.  She's seen him just three times in her 
entire 2 year life but they have a closeness already.  She follows him around
and laughs at EVERYTHING he does.

Then a July trip in Maui to visit mommy's high school friends.  
We had a great visit to the lavendar farm.

And a small backyard party with family to celebrate her 2nd birthday party.
Theme: Old McDonald!

Her very first cupcake: Lemon cupcake no frosting...she LOVED IT!