The first week that Joerg was gone, my mom came on the train to visit. Annika loves going to the train station and watching the train pull in. And then the excitement of seeing Grandma get off--it's almost too much for her! Mom and I took the girls to a carnival down by the riverfront in Peoria one day. Annika was her usual daredevil self, begging me to go on all the scariest rides. The most exciting ride I allowed her to go on was the scrambler, which she loved. We must have ridden that one about 15 times. There was another giant slide, which we rode several times, although I steered her away from that one because the burlap bags we had to ride down smelled a bit like pesticide. Yuck! We also went on a big ferris wheel together, and she enjoyed that a lot, too. She actually did spend some time on the kiddie rides, but after the initial joy when the ride started she kind of looked around like, "OK, when does it get exciting??" We had a little picnic over on benches by the river shore, which was just lovely. We finally left when it started to sprinkle (and my parking meter was about to expire). Annika was not too happy about leaving, but it was pretty apparent that she was exhausted. After I set her up in her car seat with a drink and some snacks she called out imperiously, "Hit the road, Mom!" Then she was asleep before we even reached the highway.
The next day we went garage saling! The weather was gorgeous, and so we all slathered on sunscreen and parked the car and wandered among the sales. Annika was so well-behaved. I was so proud of her for not screaming and throwing a fit every time we left a sale without buying something for her, as many of the other kids were that we saw. Of course, we were buying toys and books for her anyway--who can resist when there's a doll swing for $1? Or books for 50 cents? Anni finally found her garage sale shangri-la at the house where the girl was selling all her Barbies. Anni is such a girl right now--she loves pink (although blue is beginning to be favored, too), is obsessed with princesses, and plays endless games with her dolls and dollhouse. On the other hand, her wild, thrill-seeking streak proves she's no shrinking violet. The other day we were in a store and Anni came over to me, ecstatic to have found a spider, which she was carefully holding in her hand. I am not exaggerating when I say that that thing was nearly as big as her hand!! I convinced her to put him back down so that he could go home, thank goodness. She also loves it when she gets to pet the snakes at our little zoo here in town. And she never saw a mud puddle that didn't call her name irresistibly, new shoes or not.
Frankie is nearly nearly nearly crawling. She gets up on all fours by herself, and moves her arms forward, and sometimes her legs cooperate, too. But sometimes her arms just keep going forward until she flops back onto her tummy. And then she drags herself across the floor at a pretty impressive clip, for a seal baby. She now has 6 teeth, and 2 more coming in simultaneously. She's a huge fan of smashed banana, but she seems to think Cheerios are more work than they're worth, although she does enjoy tossing them about...
We have new neighbors, and they have a 6-yr. old daughter, Sabrina. Annika adores her. Did I say "adores"? Maybe "worships" is a better word to describe it... Sabrina's been coming over to play pretty frequently since moving here. This week we got out our kiddie pool and positioned it at the bottom of our slide, and then let the hose run down the slide to create a pretty fast water slide. The girls have had so much fun playing together in the pool. Frankie loves to sit in her baby swing and watch all the action. Frankie, evidently a budding adrenaline-junkie herself, loves it when I swing her high. I have to say that at this age Frankie is seeming more like a little person and less like a baby, if that makes any sense at all.
I realized recently that I haven't given any medical updates on Annika for a while. I guess that's because there's just not too much to report. Anni seems to have stabilized again. That is, her lab numbers are still off by quite a bit, but they're not getting worse anymore. So that's good. And at least now we know why her lab values are still off--she has the clot in her portal vein. So it looks like we finally have the rejection under control. (Huge sigh of relief) She is completely black-and-blue, though, as she's been having a normal 3-yr-old's good time, but her blood is still not clotting quite fast enough. So she gets mega-bruises all up and down her legs, face, arms, etc. We go back in August for the deluxe work-up: full body CT, scopes, and biopsy.