Sunday, March 27, 2011

Disney Vacation

Well it's back to reality after a wonderful vacation in the world of everything Mickey Mouse... Disney World! We returned early this evening after driving back from Orlando and picking up our dogs at Grandma Ruth's house. It's been a long day and we have a lot of unpacking to, but I'd rather write about our vacation.

A little background information:
My friend Stephanie and I wanted to do something special for our kids' 1st birthdays. Stephanie's son Connor will be 1-year-old on April 7th, just two days after Bella. We ultimately decided to plan a long weekend at Disney World. We booked a townhouse, using the website home away and planned a few meals at the various parks. 

Wednesday: Downtown Disney
Stephanie and I packed up her mini-van and headed up to Orlando with Connor and Bella in tow. I was quite proud of our organizational skills. We were on the road by noon and arrived in Kissimmee just after 3:00pm, after a brief stop at Target for a few last minute things and lunch at Steak and Shake. We hit the road and arrived safe and sound. Both of the kids took naps, which made for a quiet and enjoyable car ride. We met the property manager and received the keys to the townhouse and proceeded to unload a mini-van full of "stuff". We had dinner at Downtown Disney and walked around for a bit. Our husband worked all day and joined us at the townhouse shortly after we returned home from our outing. We were all exhausted so we called it a night and went to bed. 

Thursday: Magic Kingdom
We had an ambitious day planned and were in the Magic Kingdom by 9:00am. Stephanie and I ordered Connor and Bella ADORABLE his and her outfits for the day from our new favorite website Etsy. We took pictures and mapped out our day. We got our fast passes for Space Mountain and proceeded to ride a few rides with the kids. We took them on the carousel, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger, the Haunted Mansion and the Tomorrowland People Mover. Bella has been on most of these rides before, but since she is much older and more aware since the last time she's ridden these rides. She sat on our laps, held onto the lap bar and giggled at the various sights she took in. The adults (sans Stephanie) rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and then it was time to head to Main Street for lunch at the Crystal Palace. Stephanie and I had made reservations for a lunch with Pooh & friends at the Crystal Palace. It was so much fun and Bella LOVED it! She loved seeing the characters walk around from table to table and loved interacting with the characters when they approached our table. Lunch was awesome and truly the highlight of our day. The adults (sans Stephanie) rode Space Mountain and literally screamed like we had never ridden it before. They revamped Space Mountain and it is AWESOME! I won't give away too many details on what is different, but it was great. The kids really enjoyed themselves, as did the adults, but we were all exhausted and headed back to townhouse for dinner. 

Mama Lasher, Baby Lasher and Daddy Lasher
Stephanie, Connor and Scott / Ian, Bella and Kim (duh!)
Bella lovin' on Eeyore at the Crystal Palace

Friday: Hollywood Studios
We got an early start and were at Hollywood Studios as soon as it opened. The guys ran to Toy Story Mania to grab fast passes and we ended up riding the ride after only waiting 35 minutes. It was well worth the wait because Bella was giggling and smiling the entire time. She loved the spinning and helping daddy hit his targets. Connor didn't enjoy the ride nearly as much as Bella and was climbing up on his daddy most of the ride. We took the kids to the Disney Jr. show and it was super cute. I've never really watched this channel, but Bella enjoyed the singing and dancing characters and I had the songs stuck in my head for the remainder of the day. We had lunch reservations at the 50's Primetime Cafe and had a blast. We laughed and joked around with our waitress, "Mom." After lunch we returned to Toy Story Mania and used our fast passes to bypass the 75 minute wait. Bella laughed and smiled again and helped me hit my targets. The adults (sans Stephanie) rode the Tower of Terror twice and we left the park after doing some shopping. Everyone was exhausted and so we headed back to the townhouse to relax and unwind.

Thank goodness for the Ergo baby carrier... waiting in line.
Lunch at the 50's Primetime Cafe!

Saturday: Epcot
We took our time getting to Epcot because it's usually the least crowded park. We got a late start because Bella woke up at 4:45am and was down for a nap by 7:30am. She took a 2 hour nap and we finally left the house around 9:30am. We took a few pictures and found the Freedman's legacy picture at the entrance of Epcot. We then made our way to Japan for lunch at Teppan Edo. We "enjoyed" our overpriced lunch and the kids were entertained throughout the entire meal. I use the term "enjoyed" loosely because the restaurant was refurbished a few years ago and it's a totally different place. They don't include miso soup and/or a salad in the price of your meal and they also serve white rice instead of fried rice. We also felt very rushed and the portions were somewhat small. But we enjoyed the time together and Bella enjoyed her first experience in a Japanese restaurant. After lunch we met up with our friends, Sarah and Shawn and their son Taylan. Shawn had never been to Epcot so we took him on Malestrom in Norway, while Sarah waited with Taylan as he napped. We continued making our way through the world showcase and stopped in Mexico to ride the Grand Fiesta Tour. After the ride, we treated ourselves to margaritas, nachos and churros. We parted ways with the Hills after our snack and decided to wait in line to meet the characters. Bella and Connor met Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto. We headed out of the park after this because everyone was tired and hungry.

The Lasher Family at Epcot
Just Bella and me... 

Sunday: Animal Kingdom
We packed up our belongings and loaded up our mini-vans in the morning and headed to Animal Kingdom for lunch. The Freedmans arrived at the park before us because, as usual, Bella was taking a nap because she was up early that morning. We met up with the Freedmans just in time to have lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. The kids LOVED the animals and the loud noises they heard throughout lunch. After lunch we went inside the park to take a few pictures and do a little shopping. Bella has been to Animal Kingdom several times so we didn't do too much at the park. This day was really bittersweet because it was the last day of vacation and I knew that tomorrow it would be back to reality. We were on the road by 1:00pm and were back in Tampa by 2:30pm. We picked up our dogs and headed home to unpack and decompress from vacation. 

It was REALLY sunny this day... 

Some mouse ears for Bella!
We had a WONDERFUL vacation and we enjoyed spending our vacation with our friends, the Freedmans. We can't wait until next year... or our next vacation.

We have a busy week ahead of us... appointments for me, appointments for Bella, Pop's arrival and Bella's 1st birthday party. So little time, so much to do! Wish me luck.

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Monday, March 21, 2011


"Never utter these words, 'I do not know this, therefore it is false.' One must study to know; know to understand; understand to judge."

I am a mother and I'm doing what is best for my child. This sums up how I've been feeling over the past couple of days. Since becoming pregnant and bringing Bella in to this world, I have been judged. Judgement accompanies motherhood but sometimes it gets to be too much. I am able to accept constructive criticism, but being criticized and being judged are two different things in my opinion. Here are several issues I feel that I've been subject to judgement on (in no particular order):

Judgement #1: I didn't exclusively breastfeed for the first year of Bella's life.

Rationale #1: Bella is off the charts in both height and weight. She also is a very healthy child and has never been on antibiotics. But, if you really want to get into the details of why I didn't nurse Bella, it involved post-patrum complications for me and severe jaundice for Bella.

Judgement #2: We utilized several cry-it-out techniques in order to get Bella to sleep through the night.

Rationale #2: While we did follow her cues, we also nurtured her to the point where she feels comfortable enough to fall asleep on her own. Bella sleeps through the night, as do Ian and I. She also naps for nearly 4 hours during the day. We are a well rested and very happy family. Need I say more?

Judgement #3: We didn't co-sleep with Bella.

Rationale #3: We have a tempur-pedic mattress and umm, hello, it's called SIDS!

Judgement #4: I don't use cloth diapers.

Rationale #4: Pampers work just fine for us and I do a hell of a lot less laundry, I'm sure.

Judgement #5: I intend to keep Bella in the rear-facing position in her car seat for as long as possible.

Rationale #5: Keeping Bella as safe as possible is my #1 priority and I couldn't care less if her view of the world is a little skewed in the car seat. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping children in the rear-facing positioning until the age of 2.

Judgement #6: I've introduced Bella to whole milk prior to her 1st birthday.

Rationale #6: My child will be weaned to whole milk in sippy cups by her 1st birthday.

Judgement #7: Bella has plagiocephaly and torticollis, and as a result wears a corrective helmet and is in physical therapy.

Rationale #7: I have a petite frame, Bella was a BIG baby and I delivered her vaginally, all very common causes of each condition. Rather than ignoring the issues, we have chosen to correct the issues because it's in Bella's best interest.

I'm not trying to pick fights with people or spark the next great debate. I've been the victim of unnecessary judgement and it feels liberating to get this off my chest. No one likes to be judged, but it sure seems like people like to pass judgement. I will also take this as a lesson for myself, as I am certain there have been times in which I've judged people unnecessarily. I do what I feel is best for my child and I've learned to follow my instincts. Following your own instincts is often the best way to raise your child. I will never instruct you on how to raise your child, nor do I want you to instruct me on how to raise my child.

All of this being said... I am off to spend time with my very loved, very happy, very healthy, well-adjusted child.

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back from Boca

We took a quick weekend trip to Boca Raton this weekend to visit with family and attend a memorial service for Ian's great-aunt who passed away in December. 

I was really looking for to the trip until I woke up Saturday morning. I woke up sick as a dog and felt awful! I laid on the couch and attempted to rest as much as possible before we left. I told Ian that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it, as Boca Raton is nearly 3.5 hours from here and I wasn't sure I'd last that long in the car. A guilt trip of a man driving across the state by himself with a baby in the backseat was soon laid and I was determined to go on the trip. Around noon we decided that I felt well enough to go and we hit the road. 

As the trip progressed, the worse I felt. Luckily Bella and I were able to take a nap for about an hour and we arrived in Boca Raton just before dinner time. We checked into our hotel room and rested for a bit. Ian and Bella then left with the rest of the family to attend a dinner at a cousin's house. I stayed behind in the hotel room and slept. I felt so achy and feverish, so my sleep wasn't very sound, but it was rest nonetheless. Ian and Bella returned just in time for Bella to go to bed, but since I was sick and unsure of what was wrong, we decided it was best for Bella to sleep in Grandma Ruth's room. Apparently Bella didn't enjoy her accommodations and woke up during the night. Ian and Bella attended the memorial service in Deerfield Beach on Sunday morning and Bella even participated in the service. She placed a stone on Aunt Helen's headstone, which is a Jewish tradition performed to let the deceased know you came by to visit them. Everyone returned to the hotel to pick me up and head over to a cousin's house for brunch. We visited with family that we hadn't seen since our wedding and we hit the road by early afternoon. Bella was an absolute angel in the car and we all survived our quick trip to Boca Raton. 

I'm happy to report that I'm feeling remarkably better, although I'm unsure as to what exactly was wrong this weekend. A 24-hour bug? Perhaps. The flu? Maybe. I guess we'll never know. I'm just thankful I'm feeling better.

We have a sleeping baby and a movie to watch, so I'd better get going. The upcoming week promises to be a very hectic but fun week. 

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Friday, March 18, 2011


After our night out last night, I feel BLAH! I only had a few glasses of wine and a pint of green beer, but I am paying for it today. I wouldn't say I was hungover, but I suppose I was just dehydrated and sleep deprived. After some non-alcoholic fluids and a nap, I was good as new. Thank goodness! 

We took Bella to Busch Gardens, and joined 1 million of our closest friends. Apparently Hillsborough County Schools had the day off and so everyone and their mother were at Busch Gardens today. Fear not, we found prime parking (not preferred, but prime) and ventured into the park for the afternoon. We patiently waited for snack time with the elephants, which Bella thoroughly enjoyed, as did I. Elephants are my favorite animal and I may or may not be pushing this love onto Bella. Despite the crowds and heat, we managed to stay hydrated and had a lot of fun.

After Busch Gardens, we joined our friends, the McGills, at a new Mexican restaurant near our neighborhood. The restaurant is called Luna's and it's super close to our house. I've heard good things about this place and it's been a long time coming, so needless to say, I was eager to try it. We ordered the steak, chicken and shrimp fajitas and I was honestly disappointed. Compared to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Sabor a Mexico, it couldn't compare. The atmosphere of Sabor a Mexico is much more authentic and the food is tastier. Not to mention the prices at Sabor a Mexico are unbelievable. I think we may return to Luna's due to its close proximity to our house, but will always prefer Sabor a Mexico. The company was fantastic at dinner and the kids entertained each other while the adults, sans me, indulged in gigantic margaritas. 

Bella didn't an afternoon nap so we returned home to put her to bed early. I will be following suit and dragging myself to bed. Today was a wonderful day and we truly enjoyed an extra family day. Nighty night y'all! 

Love always, 
Ian, Kim & Bella

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today is a day when everyone is Irish... and I mean everyone. It's fun to see people celebrating the occasion and dressing up in crazy amounts of green! √Čirinn go Br√°ch!
We had a playdate/birthday party in Apollo Beach this morning for two of Bella's friends. They happen to share the same birthday and so their moms decided to co-host a playdate/birthday party. The park was really nice, the weather was absolutely beautiful and the company was great. Bella enjoyed playing with her friends and I enjoyed socializing with my mom friends again. And Bella would like to wish her friends, Camden and Luke, a very happy 1st birthday!

After our playdate our new babysitter, Miss Ashley came over for the afternoon/evening. I briefed Miss Ashley on Bella's routine and her likes/dislikes and quickly left to run some errands. I went to Michael's and hit the jackpot. I found so much cute stuff for Bella's birthday party and I am excited to complete a few projects for Bella's birthday. More importantly, Bella's invitations are finished and are ready to be mailed! I am very happy with how they turned out and I hope our family and friends find them as adorable as I do. Miss Ashley worked late so Ian and I could join our friends Troy and Sara for a little St. Patrick's Day fun! After a few glasses of wine and a pint of green beer (yuck!) we returned home to a peacefully sleeping baby. Miss Ashley is a keeper and I'm so glad we found her! 

I really need to crawl into bed because I'm sure I'll regret staying up so late and drinking so much tomorrow, but hopefully not. Ian is off tomorrow and we've got quite a weekend ahead of us. Good night!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lunch Dates and Shopping...

Today Bella and I were back in our normal routine! We have been out of the loop for so long and it felt great getting back to it. Feeling "normal" is something we have forgotten over the last month or so and we are so thankful to be healthy again. Lunch and shopping with friends is something Bella and I like to do and we do it often. I guess it's what we do best! 

We had a lunch date with Miss Stephanie and Connor. We wanted to go to Joann Fabrics afterwards, so we decided to go to Cheddar's. This isn't my favorite place to take Bella, but I enjoy their food and it was close to our after lunch destination. Cheddar's isn't exactly baby friendly and the service we received today was poor to say the least. Despite these little setbacks, I think everyone enjoyed themselves and the kids were very well behaved. The kids were so well behaved, as we were leaving, a table of older folks complimented Miss Stephanie and I on how well behaved our children were. Naturally we smiled and thanked them, but it was a nice little boost for our egos to say the least. This isn't the first time we've been together with the kids and received compliments either... just sayin'. 

Very rarely do moms receive compliments from complete strangers. Usually the only thing moms receive are dirty looks and deep sighs. I know I've rolled my eyes at kids misbehaving in public and I've sighed many a sigh at screaming kids in restaurants. For all the eye rolls and sighs I've given, I don't deserve to receive such nice compliments from people. I'm sure I've received my share of eye rolls and dirty looks, but as a mom, you learn to take the good with the bad. 

Our trip to Joann Fabrics was not as inspiring as I thought it would be. I thought I'd find a bunch of cute stuff for Bella's birthday party but I walked out empty handed. Nothing jumped out at me and it was really disappointing. I plan to hit up Michael's some time this week, so perhaps I'll find some inspiration there. Bella's birthday party is coming together nicely and we're getting very excited about the upcoming milestone! 

Well, I'm off to bed because tomorrow we have a playdate/birthday party at the park and our new babysitter starts tomorrow. Wish us luck! 

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." 

Bella and her helmet... Bella and her torticollis... When will it all end? There does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel and it's so frustrating. Bella had her appointment with the orthotist today, as well as a physical therapy appointment. I left both appointments feeling very disappointed.

Our appointment with the orthotist went okay today. It wasn't good, it wasn't bad... it was just okay. The orthotist said that once Bella is a year-old we will probably only need to be seen once a month. Once a month is definitely better than twice a month but I am so ready for Bella to be finished. She is making progress in the correction of the asymmetry of her head, but she is progressing slower than if we would have began treatment earlier in life.

I've been doing a lot of thinking recently and I feel very frustrated with the progress Bella has been making in physical therapy, or lack thereof. Bella began physical therapy at the age of 6-months and has made little to no progress. It seems like every time she begins to make progress, she gets sick or something happens and her neck reverts to the tilt. Take this past month... Bella has been sick more than not and this causes her to revert to tilting her neck. I usually don't address the tilt while she sleeps when she is sick because who wants to be stretched and manipulated when they're already sick? And she's getting older and it makes the stretching exercises even more difficult. She fights me when I try to stretch her and it's down right violent at times. She will often throw her head back and she has actually caught me off guard a few times. She screams and cries and it's a miserable experience for both of us. Sometimes it's more trouble than it's worth. The physical therapist mentioned a neck collar of some sort that can help correct her tilt. The only problem is that she can't wear the collar and the helmet at the same time, so we have to wait until she is finished wearing the helmet... Grrrrrrrrrrr!

I'm really frustrated... I'm frustrated that all this wasn't diagnosed until she was 6-months-old and I'm frustrated that she is not progressing faster. And apparently, I'm not the only one who is frustrated. Today, after speaking with a family member, I was grilled on Bella's progress and basically told to obtain a second opinion. This family member thinks Bella's head shape is fine and the helmet should be removed and that she should be finished with physical therapy by now. I tried to explain that while Bella has made progress with the helmet, progress will be much slower because of her age. I'm not giving up on the helmet until the specialist gives us the okay. I also tried to explain that she has made progress in physical therapy, but we've experienced a few setbacks recently and she has regressed. I'm not giving up on the physical therapy until the physical therapist gives us the okay. 

Patience is a virtue, a virtue have not always been able to adhere by. I need more patience to deal with the helmet and physical therapy. I recognize that I need to be more patient and I recognize that other people need to be patient with the decisions Ian and I make for Bella. Most parents wouldn't have wasted their time or money to correct the torticollis or the asymmetry of their child's head. It's time consuming and expensive. I know we made a good decisions to address both and I will continue to stand by our decisions. 

We cannot change the fact that we began treatment when Bella was 6-months-old, we are able to change Bella's physical health by continuing with treatment and we are hoping for the best results possible.

Sorry for such a somber post, but today was a very difficult day for us. Luckily, there is always hope that tomorrow will be better... and it will be. 

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back to Reality

We've spent last week hauled up in our house due to being sick and since we're all finally feeling better, it's time to get back to reality. There is a house to clean, errands to be and a baby to be fed, changed, entertained and shuttled around from appointment to appointment. Since it's only Monday, I think we'll take it easy today and gradually reintroduce ourselves to society.

Daylight savings time is such a joke. Was it really necessary to spring forward an hour yesterday? Bella hasn't been affected too much by the time change. She is pretty much on her same schedule. Apparently 6:30am, means 6:30am to Bella. Her eating schedule and napping schedule is also the same. Haha! Daylight savings time, the joke is on you! 

Well I've got a baby to entertain and a house to clean. Not to mention loads and loads of laundry to do. It's amazing just how many pieces of laundry a baby accumulates over the course of a week. If only she could fold her own laundry and put it away...

Happy Monday y'all!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vitamin D

Since early February, we have been dealing with illness after illness. We're sick and tired of being sick and tired!

First, Bella had a nasty case of pink eye and we were prescribed her first antibiotic... eye drops. The girl is nearly one-year-old and has never been on antibiotics. I wasn't able to breastfeed and Bella received breast milk via bottles, per her choice. I pumped for quite some time and tried to get as much breast milk in her as I possibly could. I literally pumped myself dry in order to ensure she received as much breast milk as humanly possible. This little triumph in the land of illness is HUGE for me. My child has not had ONE ear infection, which is contrary to popular breastfeeding folklore.

Then Bella turned her nasty little bout of pink eye into a cold. A cold that she shared not only with me, but Grandma Ruth. A cold that none of us have been able to fully overcome. A cold that sent me to the doctor not once, but twice. A cold that we are still apparently battling...

Last week Bella spent a day in the ER and a morning in the pediatrician's office. She was diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Super. Just super. We spent the week at home and were social outcasts. Awesome. Just awesome. 

Then... oh yes, there is yet another THEN... Bella had a runny nose and a cough which she was so kind enough to share with me. It knocked me on my butt, yet again and I give up! Yes, I give up! Germs, you win! The Lashers lose! We're not worthy, we're not worthy! Please accept this as our white flag and we surrender. We are so sick and tired of being sick and tired that we surrender! 

As I write this tonight, I finally feel like a human again. Bella finally feels human again. We spent the day with friends at the Strawberry Festival and it felt great. The vitamin D we absorbed from the hot Florida sun did our bodies good. We finally feel human again! Yay! 

All of this being said... goodnight folks. The Lashers will be resting tonight and taking it easy, until our next big adventure begins!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let's Give a Round of Applause to...

Bella deserves a round of applause today. She has been such a sweetheart today and has given me a day to catch up on my life. My poor, feverish, snotty baby girl has been an absolute angel today. Not only did she sleep in until 7am, but she took a 2.5 hour nap from 10am-12:30pm! What a treat! After the rather restless night of sleep she had last night, I woke up today thinking that today was going to be a bear, but it wasn't and I am so very thankful. She played so well by herself this afternoon, I nearly forgot to put her down for her afternoon nap. She even went down for her afternoon nap without much of a fight and soothed herself to sleep. Thank you Bella!

Bella's napping and overall good behavior gave me time to organize our babysitter search. Today we received an application from a very nice, young woman and I have made plans to meet with her on Friday. We communicated back and forth today via email and she promptly answered every question I posed. She didn't have a background screening completed, but without asking, she completed a background screening through the website. She is really on the ball and I'm very excited to meet with her on Friday. We have high expectations for the new babysitter, as we were really spoiled by Miss Lauren. Hopefully the new babysitter can live up to these expectations. 

Since Miss Lauren told us she was moving, I've been filled with doubt and worry. I doubt that we will be able to find anyone as caring and trustworthy as she and I worry that I'll make a mistake in hiring a new babysitter. It's a different today than when I was growing up and I have to be very selective in hiring a babysitter. It took us nearly a month to get comfortable with Miss Lauren and I worry about starting the process all over again. I know I shouldn't worry and I should follow my instincts, but it's not that easy. Bella deserves the best and in our absence, she deserves the very best care. No one can take care of Bella like we can, I just want the same reassurance that Miss Lauren has given when taking care of Bella these past few months. 

I'm on borrowed time and I really need to start dinner because Ian will be home soon. We're having tacos tonight, so there isn't much preparation or clean up. I really enjoy meals that can be easily prepared and easily cleaned up. Oh, we're going to return to Dinner Done! in a few weeks and we'll have some new meals that are quick, easy and delicious... usually. 

Today has been a fabulous day and I just wanted to share it with everyone. Hope y'all have had a day as fabulous as mine. 

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Poor little Bella... it seems as if she is falling apart. First the petechiae, then the HFM disease and now a cold? This poor child can't seem to catch a break! You would think with all these nasty illnesses, she'd be enrolled in daycare, but she's not. I have stayed at home with her since day one and will continue to stay at home with her until all the Lasher children are in school. It's a blessing to be able to stay at home with Bella and I cannot imagine having to balance a full-time career and motherhood. Working part-time from home and raising Bella keeps me more than busy.

Being a stay-at-home-mom is like being a jack-of-all-trades because today I have been: mom, nurse, entertainer, chef and maid (just to name a few). But actually staying AT home with an 11-month-old can lead to boredom for both Bella and me. We do not wish to spread the love of all these fun childhood illnesses, so we are opting to remain at home until Bella is feeling better. Today, I have pulled out every toy, every book in an attempt to keep Bella entertained. Until today, I forgot how much fun building with blocks can be... until I was building with blocks and Bella crawled over, giggled and proceeded to knock over my tower of blocks. 

Since October, we've had a babysitter, Miss Lauren, come to the house once a week for a few hours. I typically use this free time to catch up on housework or run errands without Bella in tow. Miss Lauren was the first babysitter we interviewed and she met every single one of our needs. She is a very loving and caring babysitter and I can tell that she genuinely cares about Bella. Unfortunately, Miss Lauren will be moving back to Cincinnati in a few weeks. We are really going to miss her and it's going to be difficult to replace her. She has earned our trust and that's not an easy task. Hopefully we can find a suitable replacement, who we can trust and who will care about Bella as much as Miss Lauren does. Hurry back to Tampa, Miss Lauren!

It's been a long day and it's going to be a long night for Ian, as he has some work to do. Luckily he is working from home, so we were able to eat dinner as a family and put Bella to bed. Busy season is no fun for Ian, Bella or me. This too shall pass, but in the meantime, we're all working hard around the Lasher house. Speaking of working, even little Bella is still awake. She is trying to battle the sandman and I can hear her on the monitor. Hopefully she falls asleep soon and is able to have a good night of sleep. She needs all the rest she can get these days, let's just hope she feels the same way I do. 

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Monday, March 7, 2011

Head, shoulders, knees and toes?

After a rather sleepless night... We followed up with the pediatrician this morning and Bella has been diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. After a thorough check of every inch of Bella's entire body, Dr. Hosemann discovered a nasty looking sore on the back of Bella's throat. There was no way we could have seen this because it was on the very back of her throat. Our poor baby girl! And the only treatment is TIME! We can give her Motrin for any fever or pain, but other than that, the only remedy is time.

The funniest part about the trip to the pediatrician was when Dr. Hosemann told me Bella could return to daycare within 5-7 days. This comment made me laugh. I told her that Bella does not go to daycare and that I stay at home with her. She laughed and said, "Well she probably picked it up from a shopping cart at Publix." The question that popped in my mind was, "Why the hell does Bella keep getting sick?" Within the past month, the poor child has had pink eye, an upper respiratory infection and HFM disease! I then thought about what Dr. Hosemann had told me about the incubation period... 5-7 days. I immediately thought of physical therapy. Bella goes to physical therapy twice a week and 6 days ago, she went to physical therapy. It makes perfect sense and I like having a scapegoat. 

Dr. Hosemann was correct though, she could have contracted this from anywhere. A shopping cart at Publix, a changing table at the mall, the child care center at the gym or physical therapy. I just like knowing the who, what, where, why and when of things, so I need something to blame. For now, until proven otherwise, I will blame physical therapy for this infection. Damn you physical therapy!!!

The Lashers will be quarantined this week and all activities have been cancelled. It's a major bummer because we were supposed to host a play date, go to Gymboree, go to the Strawberry Festival and plan our trip to Disney. Instead, we will play at home by ourselves and try to make the most of our time at home. with plenty of rest, fluids and Motrin. 

All things considered, Bella is her usual, happy self and such a good patient. For the time being, we have decided to remove her helmet to prevent any complications from a fever. I must admit, I am very much enjoying a helmet-less Bella. It makes cuddling with her so much easier and my body is thankful for less bruises this week. 

That's all from the Lasher Infirmary, for now. 

Love always,
Ian, Kim and Bella

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oy Vey

The only two words I have the energy to utter tonight are, "Oy vey!" We have had a very good, yet very bad weekend. 

We went to a birthday day party for one of Bella's little friends at Gymboree. Bella had fun and it was nice to catch up with friends, many of whom we haven't seen in awhile. Bella enjoyed crawling all over the place and even took a trip down one of the slides. After Gymboree, we stopped by and visited with old friends in South Tampa. We hadn't seen these friends in a very long time and they had never met Bella. Their daughters entertained Bella with their toys, and yet again, Bella enjoyed being the center of attention. We got home pretty late, so we put Bella to bed and relaxed by watching a movie.

Ian spoiled me by letting me sleep in on both Saturday and Sunday morning. It's such a treat to sleep in and I'm very lucky that Ian takes care of Bella in the morning, thus allowing me to do so. Today I slept until almost 10:30 and Bella was napping when I woke up. We read the paper, watched Sports Center and relaxed. Around 11:30, I heard Bella babbling in her crib so I went upstairs to get her. I brought her downstairs and began to change her diaper. This is the moment that the weekend took a turn for the worse...

Bella was still in her pajamas and I wanted to get her dressed for the day. I took off her pajamas and was horrified by what I saw on her left forearm. She had this strange, bruise like rash on her inner forearm. We called the pediatrician and waited for the on-call doctor to call us back. After about 30 minutes, we received a return call, answered some questions and it was decided that Bella needed to go to the ER. We quickly got ourselves dressed, packed a diaper bag and we were on our way.

Upon arrival at the ER, I received a strange look from the receptionist at the front desk when I told him my 11-month-old daughter had unexplained bruising on her arm. My anxiety increased when he told me to have a seat in the waiting room... a waiting room full of sick people. Much to my surprise, we were paged to return to the reception area and we were quickly whisked away to the pediatric ER. Bella was given her own private exam room and we waited for Bella to be seen by the doctor. Almost immediately, the doctor came in to examine Bella and ordered blood work. She diagnosed Bella with petechiae, which is a minor hemorrhage under the skin. She now needed to find the cause of the petechiae. Bella had her blood drawn for the first time since she was a newborn and it broke our hearts. She cried, but I don’t think it was because of the needle or the pain, she simply didn’t like being held down against her will. The nurses told us that she didn’t even bat an eyelash when they inserted the needle. She was such a trooper and we loved all over when the nurses were finished. Then we waited… and waited… and waited.

The doctor returned and informed us that Bella’s blood work came back normal and this was good news, very good news. Her platelet, RBC and WBC levels were normal, which were my biggest concerns. Unfortunately, she couldn’t tell us why Bella had petechiae, which didn’t sit well with us. She discharged Bella and instructed us to follow up with our pediatrician in the morning. She would be sending Bella’s charts to our pediatrician this afternoon. She said that Bella is a beautiful, healthy baby and that this might be an isolated incident. Needless to say, we will be following up with the pediatrician tomorrow. I just hope we receive an answer because I hate not knowing what exactly is wrong with Bella.

Once we returned home, Bella took a nap and things were back to normal. We had eaten a late lunch, so Ian and I skipped dinner, but Bella enjoyed a dinner of ravioli and fruit. Bella’s bedtime routine went without a hitch and we’re enjoying watching some television. It’s nice to relax after a stressful day.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, especially Bella. Geez! What a way to wrap up a weekend. Good night all!

Love always,
Ian, Kim and Bella

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bella is 11-Months-Old TODAY!!!

Today marked our last month of infancy for Bella. In only one month's time, Bella will be a toddler and we will be counting down the days until her 2nd birthday. I'm going to take my time and relish this last month of infancy. 

Bella didn't have an 11-month wellness appointment, but she made quite a few trips to the pediatrician within the last month for various illnesses. Here are her 11-month stats:

Height: About 30 inches

Weight: About 25 pounds

Clothing Size: Bella is wearing some 9-month clothes, but mostly wears 12-month clothes. She does have some 18-24-month clothes (silly Gymboree). Her closet and drawers were recently organized and we have stored all her newborn-6-month clothes (tear). 

Sleeping Pattern: Bella is still sleeping through the night and averages about 10 hours of sleep per night. She also takes a morning and an afternoon nap and averages about 1.5-2 hours for each nap. Some times she spoils me and sleeps for 3+ hours! =)

Eating Pattern: Bella has really cut back on the amount of formula she drinks each day. We have also decided to give her a sippy cup or two with formula each day, in an attempt to gently transition her from a bottle to strictly a sippy cup. She recently decided that pureed baby food is lame and likes to self feed. We have been trying to feed her a balanced diet, in hopes of establishing a good foundation for her future eating habits.

Milestones: Bella still has 5 teeth (3 top teeth and 2 bottom teeth) and is working on tooth #6. This sixth tooth has been a royal pain. It's popped through and retracted... it's popped through and retracted. Hopefully it will make a final descent once and for all within the next week. Bella is a professional Army crawler and she has become quite fast. She has recently started sitting up on her own and has perfected this. Her new favorite thing to do is crawl to the sliding glass door, sit up and bang on the glass and yell at the dogs when they are outside. She is also talking more, which we really enjoy.

Friends: Bella has been sick with pink eye and an upper respiratory infection, so she hasn't seen much of her friends recently. We have met some new friends from the A-T-L.

Current Events: Another St. Petersburg Police Department officer was killed in the line of duty. He was shot and killed by a 16-year-old kid... 16!!! Governor Rick Scott turned down funding from the federal government for the high speed rail project (smart move). 

Bella has made great strides with her helmet! When she first had a head scan, the asymmetry of her head was 15.7mm. She had a scan two weeks ago and the asymmetry was only 9.5mm! This is a great improvement and is very good news! Hopefully she'll only have another month or two in the helmet. 

Well, that's all from Casa de Lasher. The countdown until Bella's 1st Birthday is underway... in t-minus 1 month!

Happy 11-Month Birthday, Isabella Eve!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ups and Downs

Today was a pretty good, but the day certainly had it's ups and downs...

While Bella was napping this morning, a delivery man stopped by to deliver our new soft vertical shades for the sliding glass door in the family. The shade wasn't supposed to be manufactured, let alone delivered until late March. Levolor quoted me a date of March 17th for manufacturing, so needless to say, I was very surprised by today's delivery. We spent a lot of money on our window treatments because only two windows in our entire house are of standard size. We chose Levolor products because of the quality, the look and the price. This is the second time we've had to replace the shades in the family, but this is one of the only window treatments we open and close on a frequent basis. Add dogs and a very curious infant into the mix and you can only begin to imagine why we've had to replace it. Long story short... Levolor has AMAZING customer service and if we need to purchase any additional window treatments in the future, you can bet that they will be Levolor.

The delivery man rang the door bell, which caused the dogs to bark, which caused Bella to be woken up abruptly. She was not a happy camper and had a mini-meltdown while getting dressed for the day. We overcame the mini-meltdown and were out the door for the afternoon... or so I thought.

I had forgotten her lunch bag and so I had to run back into the house to grab it. The alarm was set and I deactivated the alarm, grabbed the bag and set the alarm again. Apparently somewhere in the process of re-entering the house, I set the alarm off. I did not hear an audible alarm and I had no indication that I had set off the alarm. A few moments later and after listening to a voicemail message from ADT, I learned that the alarm had been set off. I pulled back into the garage, called ADT and began the process of canceling the alarm. We have had three companies monitor our house in three years. At first we had Brinks, then Broadview and now ADT. Customer service with Brinks and Broadview was great and we had no complaints. ADT is a different story. It took me nearly 8 minutes to get through to someone to cancel the alarm. Usually when an alarm is set off, the monitoring company will make several calls to ensure everything is okay. If the company cannot confirm this, then law enforcement is contacted and sent out to the home. Eight minutes is a LONG time! What if our house had really been broken in to? Our house would have been wiped out in eight minutes! Luckily I was able to cancel the alarm and went through a series of procedures to troubleshoot the system. Fortunately, our alarm system appears to be working just fine... unfortunately, we will most likely receive a notice from Hillsborough County for yet another "false alarm." Bummer.

Bella and I met some friends for lunch and it was a really great afternoon. We also stopped by Buy Buy Baby and Babies-R-Us after lunch for a little shopping. I'm proud to report that I did not purchase one item at either store. I practiced some major self control and I am quite proud of myself. I also saved $10 at Babies-R-Us on an outfit I had purchased for Bella that went on sale. I dread having to make returns at Babies-R-Us because they make it so difficult. I prepared myself for the worst, but hoped for the best. I am pleased to say that Babies-R-Us price matched the outfit and credited my bank account $10.

We went out to dinner once Ian got home from work and had a nice evening. Bella is so funny at restaurants and enjoys putting on a show for people. She enjoyed the chicken fingers, french fries and salad we ordered for her. It's crazy to think that in another month, she will be eating what we eat, all the time.

Today wasn't entirely great, as I received some bad news about a friend of mine. A mutual friend of mine informed me that he had gotten himself into some trouble and today he agreed to a plea bargain. The whole situation is very complicated and I really don't want to get into details. He will be sentenced in June, and he's looking at a minimum of 5 years in federal prison. I am really disappointed in this friend, but I still feel sorry for him. Okay, that's enough about that.

I'm looking forward to the weekend and we have some fun things planned. The highlight of our weekend will be Bella's friend, Taylan's, 1st birthday party at Gymboree. We also have some chores around the house to do and we could use a little rest and relaxation, too. Speaking of rest, it's time for me to hit the sack. Goodnight all!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Life is just a bowl of cherries...

All things considered and after the past few days, today was a very pleasant day. The weather was breezy, but warm. Bella was in a relatively good mood. And I was able to have some much needed "me time." The house is also clean and we have groceries for the next few days. I feel like today was a productive day and I am very happy about that. Life is just a bowl of cherries... as can be seen on Bella's outfit today.

Bella was up and at 'em bright and early. She has learned to sit up and enjoys sitting up in her crib until one of us comes to get her. She is aware of the video monitor and often gazes into the camera. It's actually pretty darn cute and is much more pleasant than waking up to a crying baby. Bella played contently by herself this morning, while I was able to get a few chores done around the house. She did fight her morning nap, but gave up after about 20 minutes of playing in her crib. She slept for about two hours and woke up in a great mood. Her good mood has continued into the evening and she is playing by herself while as I am typing.

We are waiting for Ian to get home, who has been working long hours. He may even have to work tonight,  which is no fun, but hopefully it makes for an easier day tomorrow. Busy season in the accounting world is no fun for the employees or the families they often leave behind. Luckily busy season comes and goes relatively quick, so this will be all but a forgotten memory in another few weeks. 

Tomorrow we were supposed to go to the zoo with some friends, but this has been cancelled. Perhaps we can get to the zoo within the next few weeks, before it gets too warm. We are going to have lunch with our new friends, the Parks tomorrow, which should be fun. This weekend we have a birthday party to attend and will possibly be making a cameo at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City. I am really looking forward to family time this weekend and it's so nice to know that we won't be wasting the weekend having to complete chores around the house. 

I would also like to give myself a pat on the back for being so diligent with the blog this week. I set a goal and I am in the process of accomplishing this goal... Good job, Kim! 

Well, it is getting close to Bella's bed time, so I'm going to finish this post by saying that today was a very good day... end of story. 

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Can I Get a Do-Over, please?

Have you ever had one of those days when EVERYTHING seems to go wrong? Today, I am having one of those days. I'm in desperate need of a do-over.

Let me begin by saying, I love Bella very much and I love being able to stay at home with her, but days like today make it very difficult for me to enjoy this luxury. Bella has been extremely fussy this week and today is no exception. She woke up twice last night but managed to get herself back to sleep after a few minutes. When she woke up for the day, she was crying, which is not like her and I knew that today was going to be a very long day. Bella usually plays very well by herself and can entertain herself while I wash dishes or start a load of laundry... usually. Today she whined while I washed dishes and cried when I went outside to let the dogs inside. She fought her morning nap AND her afternoon nap. And, when I woke Bella up from her afternoon nap, she was not happy. She screamed and screamed, until I handed her to Ian and she fine. While playing with Bella on the floor, she was very rough with me and tried to head butt me several times. What happened to my sweet baby girl? 

Okay, that's more than enough complaining. On a positive note, Bella is Army crawling like crazy. She loves crawling on the tile and is quite efficient. Her mobility means she gets into everything. Her favorite places to crawl include one of the surround sound speakers and the door stopper by the front door. She also enjoys watching the dogs through the sliding glass door when they are outside. Today she was "yelling" at them and banging on the window when they would bark. I have no idea where she learned this... umm, yes I do, as she has probably seen me do it a million times.

When Ian was the only one who was able to console her this evening, for a moment, my feelings were actually hurt. It was like mommy wasn't good enough for her and the more I tried to console her, the more upset she got. I quickly got over this when I saw the smile that came across her face once Ian picked her up. I do love the bond she and Ian share and I'm glad he was there to wipe away her tears. I always knew she would be daddy's little girl and man, does she have him wrapped around her little finger!

Busy season is in full swing and Ian has been getting pulled in multiple directions at work. Tonight he has been working at home and estimates he will most likely be working until at least midnight. I teased him at dinner and suggested that maybe he should learn better time management skills. I think I offended him, but I assured him that I was merely teasing him. Ian juggles work and home very well and does so much around the house. He helps out with Bella, chores and other things that pop up. Bella is thankful for such a great daddy and I am thankful for such a great husband. 

Well, that pretty much sums up our day. Bella is asleep and I am right behind her. Unfortunately, Ian will be working late and his date with the sand man will be delayed. Hopefully tomorrow will bring better moods for Bella and me. Here's to hoping...

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rainy Day Blues

When I woke up this morning, I made a mental note for myself to water the plants in the front yard before the sun was at it's peak. I went into the garage, found the watering can and filled it up. As I was watering the plants, I was quickly reminded of the family of birds who have taken up residency in one of our trees in the front yard. I could hear the baby birds chirping and caught a few glimpses of the mama bird. She flew in and out of the tree, as if she was warning me that I was too close to the nest. I have watched Alfred Hitchcock's movie "The Birds" and I consider myself a sensible person, so I quickly finished watering the plans and ran for my life. No sooner did I finish watering the plants that good old mother nature reminded me that she calls the shots... and it began to rain. Okay, it poured. It just goes to show that whenever I water my outdoor plants, it will always rain. Forget weather forecasts and all the scientific mumbo jumbo, if I water my plants, it will rain.

The rain did assist in a marathon nap for Bella in the morning. The child slept for 3.5 hours! Despite multiple losses of electricity, Bella's trusty white noise machine remained on and she slept... and slept... and slept. She slept though play group and she almost slept through lunch. Luckily we were able to meet up with a few friends for lunch and run a few errands before her afternoon nap. As exhausted as she was after running around all afternoon, she fought her afternoon nap, but has since surrendered to the sand man.

Bella has not been her usual, happy self the last few days. She has been fussier than usual and quite clingy. During her 10-month photo session yesterday, she screamed and cried... the entire time! She has never done this at a photo session and it was a really awful experience for Bella, myself and the photographer. She managed to crack a few smiles in between her bouts of crying, so I was able to select a few good pictures to purchase. We will be going back sometime this month and hopefully Bella will be her cute, jolly self. I think she may be teething, so I'll give her a mulligan for the time being.

I'm hoping it will rain again tonight so that I won't have to water my plants in the morning... wishful thinking, I suppose.

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella