Poinsettia
Family Diary 2007
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Dear Friends and Family,

Our year started with my recovery from a debilitating muscle-related pain in my lower back that had affected our family's quality of life for the past season. After a year of doctor appointments, labs, MRIs and a great deal of pain, I owe it to my friend from work Todd Clifton, who gracefully gave up two of his gift certificates to me to try a talented masseuse, who in turn figured out which muscle was affected. The pain was such that I was taking 4 Aleves every 6 hours just to make it to work since I stubbornly refused to go on disability Or take prescription drugs. As I slowly reduced the dose, our dancer friend Luisa Meschekoff used her exercise techniques to help me recover from a year of muscle atrophy. Luisa, thank you so much!!!! :)

My friend since childhood, and adopted sister Jennifer Reymundi and I decided to enroll our little girls Michelle and Bianca in Gymboree classes all throughout the year. Bianca and Michelle have been exposed to art, music and play sessions that they enjoy and will, hopefully, relate to school in the near future. The classes are engaging and do require a parent to participate with the child, which has turned out to be a preparation for pre-school as the girls learn to pay attention to a teacher and follow various instructions.

In May, Russ, Michelle and I went on a trip to Australia. It was quite the challenge to travel with a toddler. Michelle behaved beautifully, but being able to remember what to bring in each tour and outing for her care was overwhelming. We came back exhausted...needing a vacation from the vacation. Everything did go relatively well however. I did have to fight quite a few days of "morning sickness" -- which turned out to be a total misnomer since it happened constantly for three long months. Of course, I was in denial thinking I had a virus of sorts.

June was a month of great joy as my doctor confirmed our pregnancy with a baby boy we named "Alexander" AND my morning sickness finally subsided ...(for the most part.) I was fortunately able to convince my mom to come over and temporarily stay with us from the beginning of October on, as I was told Alexander was due at the end of November and much needed to be done.

And how beautiful it is to witness throughout this year the incredible transformation Michelle has gone through from a toddler to an accomplished preschooler! She can now tell her abc's, colors, geometric figures, numbers to 50, animals and so much more. She is capable of putting on her own clothes and shoes. And she communicates clearly what she wants or needs. She is very passionate about balloons. Her favorite cartoons are The Little Einsteins, Blue's Clues, and The Wiggles...( I know because she is able to recite every episode.) We have been blessed to find from the start a loving babysitter in Irene Holmes, and to adopt her beautiful family as ours. Johnny and Irene have become another set of grandparents for Michelle and we could not be more grateful for their attention with our little one. I don't think twice to leave my baby girl with Irene or with Dale, Irene's childhood friend, who has been extremely generous with toys and with her time in difficult situations throughout the year.

November has been a month of learning for Russ and for me. As new parents, we have different ways of showing attention, love and discipline to our Michelle. We have taken the initiative to attend a parenting class that has taught us the Montessori way of disciplining our babies. It has been eye-opening.

It is now December, and all has gone well, our family has grown, we have reconnected with old family members and friends...(or are attempting to through this letter,) and are relaxing at home with hardly any sleep as the baby requires attention quite often. Mom and I rearranged Michelle's room in preparation for her preschooling stage and left her with her own room, as she has now turned three years old in December 15th. We did turn our guest room into a baby room for Alexander.

I want to take this time to wish you Season's Greetings and the promise of a Prosperous Year from our family to yours.

Love Always,

Vanessa, Russ, Michelle and Alexander