Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was, thankfully, quite successful. We hosted 23 family and friends and had more food than you could imagine! Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves and left feeling satiated (at least, for the time being!) Here are some photos from the event:
My first endeavor: the turkey! It turned out quite well :)
Lily, trying some turkey and mashed potatoes.
ALL of the food!
What a Ham! (Or, perhaps I should call her a turkey!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting Ready for Turkey Day

We are eagerly awaiting Thanksgiving day this year. It is mine and Lily's "first" Thanksgiving--I'm hosting!! :) Lily has a special Thanksgiving bib that she has been pointing at since we bought it, so she is very excited to finally be able to wear it! We are also ready for the short vacation that this holiday provides and a good (hopefully) beating of Colorado by the Huskers!

Lily is as busy as ever. There is now no "break." She is in constant motion. In fact, we bought her a play-pen (aka, baby jail) so that we can get bathroom breaks and other quick chores done without worrying about her crawling down the stairs or getting into some other type of mischief.

Baby jail
She doesn't like it one bit, as you could imagine! But, we tell ourselves it is a necessary evil :)

Lily has also been experimenting with new finger foods. We had one scare where she choked on some Gerber puffs (because she shoveled five in at once) but it all ended happily. She LOVES any food that she can eat herself! We are hoping that all the practice makes her Thanksgiving meal even more exciting.

That's about all our news. I am trying to plan the Morrill Speech Meet and still plugging along at school. I think we have about 2 1/2 weeks left, so almost done!! Brian is also done at about that time, so Christmas break is much anticipated at this point!

Here are some recent pictures:

Having fun in the high chair after a yummy meal!
FINALLY napping! :)
Ready to go!
Showing off her newly refined eating skills!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Halloween in pictures

Sad bunny!
Posing with Mama

Showing off her bunny teeth

Munchin' on a carrot

This carrot tastes funny...

Monday, October 26, 2009


Hello all!

We have been as busy as ever! Especially with Lily's newly acquired skill--crawling! She is everywhere, into everything, and has one amazing reach! I swear, there is nothing that this child cannot grab if she sets her mind to it. In one word, she is INDEPENDENT (except for the whole diaper changing, not yet walking part) :) She pulls up to a standing position any time she can, so I think it won't be long before she starts toddling around the house. Agh!!

We have had a crazy Fall already--we had a foot of snow one weekend and 70 degree temps the next! Only in Nebraska! Brian is busily teaching and I am still working away on my Counseling degree, as well as coaching Speech students in my spare time. As you can imagine, the idea of "spare" time is distant...

Here are some cute pictures:
Lily in her snowsuit the weekend of the big snowstorm.
Playing with Daddy. She is a Daddy's girl already. In fact, I say, "Lily, say Mama." She says, "Dada." :)
Family picture.
We had to give her her first haircut!! Well, just her bangs. This is the "before" shot.
And after!
 We hope everyone is well and enjoying the weather!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

The End of Summer

Hello everyone! It has been awhile since I've had a new entry, and I figured I ought to give everyone an update.

Summer is officially over for us. Brian started teaching last Wednesday and I started the Master's program in Community Counseling at CSC on Monday. Needless to say, life is once again going to be hectic. The good news is that we are planning on closing on the Hemingford home on Tuesday, so that is quite a relief!

Lily has quite the little personality nowadays. In fact, I dare to say, she is almost naughty already! :) She loves to bounce in her jumperoo, hates to nap, and has already gotten two teeth! She is well over 17 pounds now and is quite heavy as I lug her around in her car seat. She can sit up on her own pretty well, is dabbling in fruits and vegetables, and loves to drink water out of Mommy and Daddy's cups. She's not crawling yet, (thankfully) but is rolling around in both directions, so I believe we are not very far from that milestone.

Here are some pictures from the summer--hope you all are well and enjoy seeing Lily growing up!
She loves nothing more than be carried around on her Daddy's shoulder--dare I say she is Daddy's girl already?? :)
Here is a family picture of us at the Gompert Family Picnic in early August
Too cute! On her 6 month birthday!

Playing with one of her many toys...
Here she is preparing for football season--you know she has to be a Husker!!
Brian, Erica, and Lily

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The last month in review

Hey there!

The month of June has come and gone--it is truly amazing how quickly life has started moving for us!! Over the last month we have concentrated on getting more things moved into the new house, helped get Barb settled into her new home, and watched Lily grow bigger and more rambunctious by the day!

Over the last month Lily has started rolling around more, has learned how to put her feet in her mouth, and eats rice cereal like a pro. The only "bad" things that she has developed are stranger anxiety and crying HARD when she is sleepy.

We took her to an opthamologist in June, and he informed us that her hemangioma does not seem to be affecting any part of her vision at this point. He confirmed that surgery should be the last option for us and said that he would just like to see her in three months to check her again. We also took her to her GP, who has been measuring the bump every month, and it has stayed the same size since the beginning of June, which is good news!

At her appointment on July 2, she weighed 14 pounds, 13 ounces, and was 25 1/2 inches long. She is getting really heavy for me to lug around in her car seat!! :)

Here are some pictures of her over the last month--you can really see her personality start to shine through!

Big blue eyes!
She sucks her thumb!
(She loves her thumb!! She also LOVES to suck or chew on anything she can get her hands on!)
Yesterday was Independence Day and we went to my parents' house for their annual 4th of July block party. We were a little worried that Lily would be afraid of the noise and that the bugs would eat us alive, but all was well! Lily hardly fussed the entire night and the noise didn't faze her. She loved watching the big fireworks go off in the sky and probably wondered what kind of world she had suddenly entered!
Here are some pictures from the party:

Here she is watching all the people and trying to figure out what all the racket was about...

Here are Brian and I smiling for the camera :)

And here is Miss Lily all dressed up and ready to go!
We will be leaving for Cleveland to visit Brian's brother and sister in law on Tuesday. I can't say I am looking forward to the flight with a baby who can't sit still, but it will be nice for Lily to FINALLY meet her other uncle and aunt!! We are glad they will be able to meet her while she still has some "little" baby in her :)
Hope this note finds everyone else in good spirits and health!
Brian, Erica, and Lily ♥

Friday, June 5, 2009

4 Months!!

Can you believe that Lily is now 4 months old? It seems like the first year of her life is flying by!!

On Wednesday, we took her to her 4 month old well-baby check up. She is growing like a weed! She weighed 13 pounds, 6 ounces (50th percentile) and was 25 inches long (75th percentile). Her doctor was very satisfied with her growth rate and said she is doing wonderfully :)

Here are some recent pictures:
Getting some love from Mommy
Hanging out with Daddy

First time at the Zoo with Daddy--the sun made her sleepy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Complete 180

Today, Lily was supposed to have surgery to remove her hemangioma.

We were assured that this was not a "major" surgery, although, to us, any surgery would be serious. Over the last week and a half, we prepared ourselves for the worst and hoped for the best. We had the typical concerns and worries: would she react to anesthesia? would she bleed too much? what if the unthinkable happens? We were not thrilled by the thought of her going under the knife by any means; however, at the urging of the neurosurgeon, we came to understand that this "tumor" was something that needed to excised promptly. He gave us three primary reasons: the tumor is fast growing and could affect her vision, the size of the hemangioma is already distorting her eyebrow, and cosmetically, if would be more "appropriate" to remove the bump than to let it continue to grow.

With these things pointed out to us, we were in agreement. We did not want our beautiful little girl to ever even have the possibility of losing her vision. We also are very tired of going into public and having people comment, "Oh! Did she bump her head?" Every time someone asks me this, I feel frustrated. After all, she's not even four months old--she's not mobile, so how would she bump her head? Unless, of course, I somehow dropped her or something...

So, having accepted surgery, we began to look forward to her no longer having a big bump on her brow. I did not feel like I was prepared to see her in the recovery room after surgery, possibly in pain and attached to wires and tubes, but we felt like our options had been explained and this was the best possible course of action.

Yesterday, we packed up the car and drove nearly four hours to Denver. We arrived at Children's Hospital and took Lily to the lab, where they drew four vials of blood to cross type her in case she needed a transfusion. An hour later, we were back up in the neurosurgery department, anxiously awaiting the arrival of our neurosurgeon. We were told that we would also be meeting with the plastic surgeon today, and he would determine if Lily needed a CT to see if the hemangioma had distorted her bone.

After waiting and waiting, the two doctors and a nurse finally entered the room. The plastic surgeon strode up to Lily and looked at her bump and said, "Yup, this is exactly what I thought it was--a hemangioma. Doing surgery at her age would be very risky--the thing would bleed like crazy." He then explained the natural progression of a hemangioma. He said that, by 9 months it would probably stop getting bigger and slowly start the process of involution, where it would recede back into the skin. By 5, this process is usually complete. Because of this, he said he would not even consider surgery on her until she was at least a first grader. He said that she may need a minor cosmetic surgery to repair loose or stretched skin. Then he patted her on the head and said, "She'll be fine. She's a pretty baby."

I was in shock. We were not expecting this. The neurosurgeon was apologetic, although we were never really detailed about why he wanted to operate immediately only to have someone tell us otherwise. We were also frustrated. This was the fifth doctor we had seen and ALL of them had given us a different diagnosis or a different method of treating it--how do we know who is right? We are reminding ourselves that we took her to the best hospital, and the plastic surgeon stated that he had seen these for the past 40 years. He did recommend that we make an appointment with the vascular malformation clinic, and said that if it got bigger it could be treated with steroids (which we don't particularly like). He said that at this point, however, he would not do anything to treat her.

We are tired. Tired of doctors and tired of travelling. We were mad that we had travelled so far and even more angry that they failed to stop the lab techs from drawing her blood if they knew the surgery was going to be cancelled. We decided we aren't going to waste any more time on this and put Lily through appointment after appointment. I feel a complex range of emotions--disappointed that she still has have a bump on her head, relieved that she didn't have surgery, worried about how children will treat her when she gets older...eventually we will come to terms with this.

Going to the Children's Hospital and seeing many sick children reminded us that we should be grateful that Lily does not have something much more serious. So many things could have happened, so, at least the one thing that did happen is not a major health concern. We seek solace in this fact, along with the knowledge that we have a very beautiful (despite the bump), healthy, and happy baby girl.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Medical Update

On Thursday, May 14, we took Lily out to The Children's Hospital in Denver for her MRI. She is truly a little trooper! The MRI itself was not a wonderful experience. Lily was "supposed" to take a bottle and then sleep through her MRI--well, she wasn't very sleepy :) Luckily for us, the MRI tech had another patient after Lily, and allowed us to try again afterwards. About 5 minutes before he came back (it was around 10:00 PM) she finally crashed out and, to our amazement, slept through the 25 minute test!! It was the nosiest machine...only a baby could sleep through something like that!

We had our consult with the neurosurgeon the next day. He has determined that what we thought was a cyst, isn't. The MRI showed that her bump is actually a solid mass, so he believes that she most likely (although he can't be 100% positive) has a deep tissue or cavernous hemangioma. Essentially, this is a tumor that affects the blood vessels, which explains why her bump has been changing colors and growing so rapidly. Most hemangiomas are outside the skin and look strawberry colored--these don't typically require surgery. However, because her's is deep and located near the eye--and growing so quickly--the neurosurgeon recommended that we do surgery as soon as possible. He has assured us that it is not a "major" surgery, since the hemangioma does not go through the skull into the brain, and the biggest risk is bleeding, so they will have a pint of blood on hand in case she needs a transfusion. A plastic surgeon will assist in the surgery and assures us that scarring will be minimal, so we are hoping for the best. For those of you who would like to read more, here is a link:

Her surgery is scheduled for 7:30 am on May 28th. Keep her in your thoughts...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Days!!

Hello all!

Much has happened in the short time that I last wrote--Lily is now 3 months old, as of May 4, and graduation has come and gone (thank goodness!!).

Lily is doing very well, still growing like a weed and getting happier by the day. Here are some of the milestones that she has reached in the last few months:

-She is now sleeping through the night (which we love)
-She is smiling lots and lots
-She is reaching and sometimes successfully grabbing toys
-She plays with a rattle
-Holds her head up when supported
-Sits up when propped up
-Carries on a "conversation"
-Lifts her head up all the way when on her tummy
-Sticks out her tongue and tries to razz
-She lap "stands"
-And many other things that are currently escaping my mind!!
Here are some adorable pictures of Lily on her 3-month birthday:

Smiling for Mommy in the morning :)
Having SO much fun!!

Graduation and Ivy Day (the honors ceremony) took place on Friday and Saturday of this weekend. I am so glad to be done!!! At Ivy Day I was awarded with my "honors" medal for graduating Summa Cum Laude and also with an award for being an outstanding student in psychology, which was a great surprise!! All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and one that I am so happy to have over with :)
Here are some graduation day pictures:

Getting ready to accept my diploma!
With Mom and Dad after the ceremony

With my beautiful family after arriving home from a long weekend!
 My Grandma Cindy from Texas has also been here since Wednesday and got to see me walk across stage and meet Lily for the first time--I'm so happy that she was able to fly up here!!
What are my plans now? I'm am taking a break :) Brian will be off for the summer, so we are planning on having some much needed family togetherness. We will also be finishing our move (and hoping our house sells) and redecorating the new place--so I'm sure there will be much work involved :) Eventually, I plan on going back for my Master's degree, probably through Chadron State's Community Counseling program--probably in the Spring of 2010, although we'll see how the rest of this year goes first.
Hope everyone is doing well--and Happy Mother's Day for all the Mom's out there!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Small "Bump" in the Road

Hello again! A LOT of things have happened since the last time I posted. Lily is getting SO big and cuter by the day! (If that is even possible :) )
I know I had mentioned that she had a bump on her head the last time, which her doctor believed to be a sebaceous cyst. He thought the bump would eventually go away on its own, but we noticed that it seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. So, being the worry-warts that we are, we decided to make an appointment with a dermatologist in Cheyenne to make sure that it would go away and that it was correctly diagnosed. We had done our own research and were convinced that it was a different kind of cyst.
The day we travelled to Cheyenne, they were getting slammed with a blizzard. There was probably 8 inches of slushy snow on the roads in town--scary! Thankfully, we all arrived in one piece. :) The dermatologist confirmed our concerns, and told us that the cyst on Lily's eyebrow is actually a dermoid cyst, which is more common than sebaceous cysts in children. Dermoid cysts are composed of skin and hair cells, and, because of an infection risk, they must always be surgically removed.
We were not too surprised, although unhappy, to hear this news. The dermatologist did, however, inform us that there is a slight (although unlikely) chance that, since the cyst is near her midline, it could be connected to her brain. Therefore, we had to schedule an MRI at the Denver Children's Hospital to make sure. If this is the case, a neurosurgeon, rather than a plastic surgeon, will do the procedure. We have an appointment for the MRI on May 14, with a doctor consultation the next day. Regardless, because of a the anesthesia risk, the surgery will be done in Denver. They will also probably wait until she is 6 or 9 months old to do it.
Here is a picture of her cyst
In other (happy) news, we have officially made the transition to Scottsbluff. We moved in last Thursday, and are finally all settled in! It feels so nice to be able to live in town and run errands quickly!
Graduation is now 9 days away--thank goodness! I will be graduating Summa Cum Laude (which means I have a 4.0) on Saturday, May 9, 2009, at 10:00 am in Chadron. It has been a long-awaited day!! I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that an article I submitted to a school publication called "Outside the Lines" is being published and placed 3rd (which is nice, because there is a cash prize!). Other than that, I am just living day by day, taking care of the little one and finishing up with finals. My grandma from Texas will be here for graduation and we can't wait for her to finally meet Miss Lily!
Brian is also coming to the end of his teaching year. His final week is the week after my graduation. He will be "done" on the 15th, and then have a few teacher days the following week. On May 23 we will all be flying to Ohio, along with Grandma Barb, to visit Brian's brother Darin and his wife Lisa. Then--BRING ON SUMMER BREAK!!!
Here are some more pictures to enjoy:
Pretty girl!
Lily, right before a big smile! (Smiles are hard to get on camera)
Her, realizing that I am trying to get her to smile for the camera--no way, Mom.
She will always be Daddy's precious girl!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

And another month goes by...

Hey folks! Sorry that I've been a bit lax about writing lately...things are busy! I've been "meaning" to get to the blog, but it seems like something else (homework, showers, diapers, bottles, pets) always comes first!!

We have all been doing fairly well lately. Brian is busily teaching and I am working on getting through this last month of college--almost done! We are both VERY ready for summer. We have decided that we will be moving to Scottsbluff in May, which I am very excited about. Brian is also ready to get out of the crowded house, as well as putting fewer miles on his vehicle--which is pretty close to death, I think. Hopefully we will not have to buy a new car anytime soon.

Miss Lily is growing like a weed! We had her 2 month well-baby check up on April 2nd and her 2-month immunizations on the 1st. The shots were probably harder for me than for her! It is so terrible to watch your baby get poked and hurt when you know she doesn't understand why....but we know it's the best thing we can do for her.

At her appointment, Dr. Papenfus said she is growing normally. She is still in the 21st percentile for height and weight, weighing in at 9 pounds, 9 ounces, and 21 1/2 inches long. She is hitting all of her developmental milestones, although she is a little shy about her smile. She has smiled at both of us a few times though, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just gas! Other than that, we have discovered that she has a cyst on the corner of her eyebrow. Originally, a doctor at Urgent Care said it was an infected hair follicle, but her doctor said that it is probably a sebaceous cyst. He thinks it may get a little bigger, but then will probably resolve on its own. We hope so, since he mentioned surgery would leave a large scar on her face.

Lily has had a couple of "play dates" (which is really time for mommy to get some adult interaction) with the triplets and with another of Mommy's friend's little girl. She usually sleeps the whole time. :)

Here are some cute pictures from the last month:

Look at me! I can hold my own Baba...
After a night of heavy milk drinking...
Sleeping with my favorite spot, the big bed!

I love bath time!
The whole happy family!
I will try to write more often. Stay tuned for updates and I hope all is well!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Another Week--and a Whole Month!!

Hello, hello!

Well, another week (plus a few days) has past. On Wednesday I got two phone calls--one from Brian and one from Grandma Barb--reminding me that it was Miss Lily's birthday...that's right, she is a whole month old already!

I definitely cannot believe that a month has past since I gave birth--in fact, sometimes I have to remind myself that Lily is here and I am not pregnant anymore :) Here are some pictures of our beautiful little one:

Straight out of the tub!
Betcha can't tell I enjoy my food!
For Daddy--Baby Power!! :)

In other news, we are pretty much just plugging along--I have survived midterm week and now have a whole week off (of course, I will still be doing homework). Brian is just entering his midterm week on Monday, so the following week will be his break. We are still suffering from sleep deprivation, but, as you can tell, Lily is much to cute to get frustrated with :) We did get Lily's portraits yesterday, so stay tuned for them--I'll try to post the best ones soon.

Here is Lily on her 1 Month birthday--as she is clearly saying, Peace Out!!

This is what I look like as I stare at Mommy :)