Finishing Out the Year of Updates

Back when I last posted, I was kind of congratulating myself that I had posted every month since Finch was born. Well, that ended there. So here I am over 2 months after the last post. But it's here. This is a long one. I'm warning you. But you can always skim and just look at the cute photos if you're so inclined. :)

For so many months, it felt like I had a cleft-related update every few weeks (sometimes even every few days). Now that part of the journey already feels so far behind us. Now we have an active, chatty little nine-month-old that only has to go to regular well child check-ups (woo hoo).

The last (for the moment) cleft update

We do have one cleft-related update before that goes on hiatus for some time. Finch got his nasal stent out! Aka the nose ring. OMG was I ready for that damn thing to come out. Just a little background, the nasal stent was kind of a plastic septum ring with two tubes that Finch could breathe out of. Because the cleft flattens the cleft-side nostril, the stent helps to train the cartilage to even out with the other nostril. Having the post-surgery stent in for at least three months improves those outcomes greatly.

See a tired baby in the last days of his nasal stent...

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Finch rarely noticed the stent most of the time. Except the time he was learning to sit and fell on his nose. Or the times that he hit it with his toys when he was playing too vigorously. Or the times that mom and dad had to suck snot out of them. Well, Finch hates that even without the stent. Mom and dad REALLY began to hate the stent when Finch got his first couple of colds. I won't go into details. But it was not fun. And it was really gross. 

I'm also pretty okay with not having all of the comments when we're out and about. They didn't annoy me that much, but I'm honestly a little shocked by how many people will offer you a tissue when they think your child has a snotty nose. A little weird if you ask me. I did get asked if I had his nose pierced (yeah, I had my infant child's nose pierced). But more often, people asked what it was. Like anything, it didn't bother me too much as it's a good way to educate folks about the whole cleft process and people were really interested. But it's kinda nice not to have every other grocery shopping trip include a conversation about the stent or an offer of a tissue.

So finally, the Monday before Thanksgiving, the stent was taken out for good. We still need to massage Finch's scar to break down the collagen that forms the scar. Finch still hates that too. But it's way easier and less torturous for everyone involved without the stent.

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Dr. Urbinelli, Finch's surgeon had only great things to say about Finch's progress and the look of his scar. That all means the next appointment we have isn't until after Finch's first birthday when he'll get a full checkup from the cleft team: the surgeon, cranio-facial nurse, and speech pathologists.

So, here we are, taking a break from all the cleft stuff. It may also be a hiatus for cleft updates unless something else comes down the line. Now we'll just regular old Finch updates!

Regular 'ol Finch Updates: What's he been up to these last few months, you ask?

So much has happened in the last few months! I'm always so amazed at a baby's development in such a short amount of time. One minute Finch is a master of supermans on his stomach and the next he's crawling. So spanning these last few months with no updates, a lot has happened.

Finch still loves food. He's also still loving music. But the biggest thing is that he's crawling. Eeeeeek! In fact, the child started crawling the day after the Christmas tree went up. Seriously dude?

It's funny because being surrounded by a bunch of other same-aged babies, Finch was a bit of a late bloomer on the crawling front. I wasn't worried. It's such a wide age spectrum on which all those developmental things can happen. It's just funny how they progress at their own pace.

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While he wasn't as fast of a mover, his vocalizing seemed to be going strong. He loves to chat. We don't know what he's saying, but he's saying something. His pediatrician actually called attention to Finch's pointing out the window at a bird. He does that often, but I didn't realize that was what he was doing. He's always pointing out the squirrels and the dogs walking by when he's eating breakfast in the morning. It's pretty damn cute. His noises are starting to sound more and more like words. He says mama and dada a lot. We have no clue if they're attached to us. But Cory likes to think he's winning the first-word race. But we will see when it becomes clearer...I'm still holding out hope that mama will be his first decipherable word.

Finch has been traveling like crazy the last few weeks. We thought December would be kind of low-key, but we just rode the momentum that started at Thanksgiving and took a couple last minute trips. That momentum got going when Finch seemed to have turned a corner with car rides.

Because Cory had to work during Thanksgiving, I took Finch by myself to Spokane. I brought in reinforcements on the car ride there as my sister, Abigail, came down from Seattle and drove the 6+ hours with me. But on the way back, I was alone. And Finch SLEPT THE WHOLE TIME!!! And that just continued on a trip to Bend and then to Seattle. Not to say we'll be doing a lot of road trips. But this mama is really happy that the kiddo is (at least at the moment) good in the car. 

Now, to backtrack a bit, Finch had a lot of awesome firsts in addition to crawling!

First Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving in Spokane was so fun! Mama got to relax with family not letting go of Mr. Finch. Finch also got to try some turkey and enjoy the Doerr Family's famous Turkey Trot party. Spokane is my favorite place to spend Thanksgiving and it was so fun to share it with my baby even though our other favorite guy couldn't share it with us in person.

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First Santa Visit and First Christmas Tree

Santa was, well, not a hit.  But that's what's funny about Santa and babies. Babies hate Santa. Santa doesn't care. We visited MY favorite Santa in downtown Spokane. He's not the Santa we grew up with, of course, but he's pretty damn close. 

Also, I was pretty proud of myself to get him to Santa the day beforeThanksgiving as soon as Santa showed up. What that means is NO LINES. That's key with an infant! #momhack amiright?

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Santa 2017

And then after we got back to Portland, we straightaway (well, the next day) went out and cut down ourselves a tree. Okay, actually, we ended up getting a pre-cut one. But we intended to cut our own down.

Surprisingly, Finch didn't seem to be too much of a hazard to the tree once it was up. I suppose a cat would be worse. Or maybe a toddler. Luckily, Finch seemed more inclined to admire the lights and the ornaments than tear them to shreds. 

While Finch still doesn't know about Santa and the magic of Christmas, there was a little twinkle in his eye around these lights and the fun things around the house. It gets this mama excited about Santa next year!

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First Snow and Snowshoeing Adventure all in one

A couple weeks after Thanksgiving, we decided to take a spontaneous trip to Bend to visit our friends Jill and Dave who had just moved there. It turned out to be the best weather weekend. The last time Cory and I visited Bend (last January), they were in the midst of one of the snowiest winters in years. It snowed the entire time we were there and snow was piled up several feet high on the sides of the road. And to cap it all off, we were caught in near-blizzard weather on our way home. Before the driving-home-blizzard, it was a gorgeous trip, but it was almost too snowy. 

This time it couldn't have been a more different winter visit. It was crisp, but sunny and dry. There was snow in the mountains, but we could actually see Bend this time without the mountains of snow piled up around the city. 

What all this means is we got to enjoy the wonderful breweries AND have an incredible day of snowshoeing while wearing our sunglasses.

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First Christmas

And last but not least, Christmas! We cozied up at our place on Christmas Eve and Finch got a hint of present opening. I think the best part was his time with Gram and Gramps and his Aunts and Uncle. We had a low-key time just hanging with family and Finch was the best dressed of us all with his millions of holiday-themed outfits. 

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So, that's what's going on in the life of Finch. We'll see where the updates take us moving forward, but they'll likely just be the fun regular 'ol updates for those of you who don't get to see much of Finchercize on social media or in real life.

And now we'll leave you with a few more fun shots from the past couple months...

Elizabeth Doerr