Cherry Blossoms – 2014

Unlike last year, this year we visited downtown DC during the time that the Cherry Blossoms were at their peak. And guess what… so did the rest of the DC Metro area! We arrived at the metro station at 8:30 on Saturday morning and I was shocked to see the station was already packed with families and other tourists from the ‘burbs heading into the city. I immediately missed the time when we lived in DC and could easily take alternative forms of transportation to get downtown. Once we actually maneuvered our way onto the train (with a large double stroller, mind you) the boys were in heaven. Like most toddlers, they love trains (and buses, and cars, and planes) and the metro ride was such a fun experience for them. Whenever we stopped at a station the boys would say “All Aboard!” just like in their favorite books. Too cute! Wyatt declared later that day that he was going to be a “train man” when he grows up.




While the train ride was the highlight, the beauty of the blossoms was a little lost on the boys. They were fine for a while, but between the crowds and the heat (it was only 70 but the sun was beating down on us) they did get a bit cranky. That was my cue to head back home and attend my weekly yoga class while I left Shane in the city with the cranky kids.


Intrigued by the monument...

Intrigued by the monument…



Luckily, their moods turned around and Shane was able to do a little more sightseeing and then took the kids out to a special lunch before heading home for afternoon naps. It was a busy morning but we had such a blast on a perfect spring day. I love that going down to see the Cherry Blossoms has become an annual tradition in our family. Additionally, in a couple days we should be seeing the cherry trees on our street start to bloom and I’m looking forward to enjoying the blossoms for a second time. Happy Spring!


Posted in Uncategorized

Weekend in Wilmington!

Two weekends ago, our little family traveled to Wilmington, NC to attend my friend’s wedding. This was the boys’ second wedding ever and I was really looking forward to sharing this special event with them. Another huge bonus was the fact that we got to spend the weekend in a rental house with my college roommates and their spouses and kids and even a dog. What a blast! Sure, the bedtimes and wake-ups were much earlier than in our college days, but we spent the weekend reminiscing about old times and catching up on our current lives. It was perfect. The weather, the house, the company, the amazing wedding of our friend to an awesome guy… even the kids were well behaved (for the most part). Weekends like these make me wish I lived closer to my college roommates so we could raise our families together and see each other more than once a year. And as the last few of them get married, we’ll have to come up with other occasions to get together to ensure that these friendships remain strong, because friends like these don’t come around every day and I hope we have many more decades of friendship ahead of us.

Love my Suite I girls.



And a few more pics from the weekend…

Despite their faces, the kids had fun!

Despite their faces, the kids had fun!












Posted in Uncategorized

National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day 2014

Today is the second annual National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Last year, Congress dedicated March 25th to be dedicated to Cerebral Palsy Awareness and I’m glad that the spotlight will be on this disorder which affects my sweet son, Caleb. It’s been almost 2 years since our diagnosis and while our picture of Caleb’s prognosis has become clearer with time, the cause of his cerebral palsy is still unknown.

Caleb’s CP isn’t debilitating and all-consuming like I thought it was going to be when our doctor’s first confirmed the diagnosis. Sure, he sometimes still needs to be carried and it might take us a little longer to get places, but that’s our version of “normal” and we’ve all gotten used to this way of living. Caleb is still making great strides and can now stand independently for a few seconds at a time! He’s gotten really fast at moving around with his walker and loves to “run” outside at every opportunity.

Caleb still receives physical therapy and occupational therapy regularly, as well as weekly swim lessons with his twin brother, Wyatt. He is also going to be considered for a surgery in the upcoming future, which will be described in a separate post. Caleb is a smart, happy and silly guy with a great sense of humor and he can bring a smile to anyone’s face. He leads a wonderful life full of monster trucks, goldfish crackers, Yo Gabba Gabba, daycare friends and therapy appointments. He doesn’t know what Cerebral Palsy is, only that he needs help learning how to walk. When the time comes to explain CP to him, I wish I could have more answers as to why he is affected but his identical twin was spared. The simple truth is that I have no idea.

It is astounding that research for Cerebral Palsy, the most common motor disability in children, impacting over 800,000 Americans is so drastically underfunded.

There is no dedicated, line item federal research funding for Cerebral Palsy at the CDC or NIH.  More research would mean the possibility of prevention and earlier diagnosis, more effective treatment options, and eventually the possibility of a cure.

Please take a moment of this special day to sign (and share!) the National Pledge for Cerebral Palsy Research Funding! It would mean the world to our family. Thank you!

Sign Petition Here! 

Posted in Caleb, Cerebral Palsy, Special Needs

Do you Remember…?

Our boys have great memories and we’re reminded daily of the events in their short lives that are really ingrained into their 2-year-old brains. Whether it’s at the table eating, or while driving to/from daycare, the boys are always asking me, “Mommy, do you remember when…

…Memere fell off the snowmobile (pronounced ‘snowbeeble’)?” When we were in Maine for Christmas my dad took us out for a quick snowmobile ride in the trails. My mom was on the back and my dad pulled myself, Shane and the boys in the sled type attachment. In a move that surprises no one who actually knows my dad, he decided to go off the groomed trail into a really deep, powdery “shortcut”. The snowmobile tilted a little too much to the side and my mom was dumped into several feet of white, fluffy snow. Once she started laughing, we all started laughing, and it’s a memory that we recount at least 3 times a week, several months later.

…Mima and Bopppies train was broken?” On their most recent visit, my mother-in-law was updating me via text about their commute from the airport to the ‘burbs where we’d go pick them up at the train station. She let me know their train wasn’t working, so I relayed that info to the boys who were anxiously awaiting her arrival. After we picked them up, Mima and Boppie had to do their best to explain why the train broke and who fixed it because two very curious minds needed to know.

…the bees tried to eat our lunch at the pumpkin patch?” This fall we took the boys to Butler’s Orchard where we picked out pumpkins, rode a hay slide and walked through a corn maze. When we got some lunch, the only available table was near a trashcan that was swarming with bees or hornets. The flies kept taking a special interest in our lunch (not us, luckily) and it must have been really entertaining to watch us continuously swat them away.

…the poop fell out of my diaper in the hallway?”  Oh, Caleb. No explanation necessary I guess.

…the copy machine at mommy’s work was broken?” And when I tell them, “Yes I remember when the copy machine was broken”, Caleb always corrects me, “Don’t say coffee machine, say copy machine!!!” even though, I do say copy machine! It’s a game only a toddler would get, I guess. When the boys came to have lunch with me one day while I was at work and I thought it’d be cute to let them photocopy their little hands as a sort of project. But lo and behold, these fancy copiers now-a-days require you to select a size paper and jump through hoops to actually get it to copy without the lid fully closed so I couldn’t figure it out. Ahem, I mean… it was “broken.” 

…Daddy fixed the light in the hallway?” Months ago, actually maybe almost a year at this point, Shane changed a light bulb and forever impressed his two sons, who are now convinced that he can fix anything. He doesn’t disagree with them. The image of the boys sitting patiently, and watching in awe, by the base of his step ladder with plastic tools in hand, ready to help, is one of my favorites. 

…the bird flew in our house?”  One night we returned home and as we all had our hands full with kids and bags, I opened the door and saw something fly into the house. Apparently a bird decided our Christmas wreath would be a nice place to take a nap and freaked out upon awakening. He flew the wrong way into our house and hung out on the fan, on the corner of a mirror and in our Christmas tree before finally being shooed out the front door. After I tell the story of the bird in our house, the boys always smile and remark, “silly bird…”

Such random funny memories, that I hope they never forget.

Posted in Uncategorized

Baby News!

photo (55)

The Danielson family will be getting bigger come this July! We’re expecting our third baby BOY and couldn’t be any happier. Caleb and Wyatt are very excited at the notion of having a baby brother and can’t wait to teach him things like “playing with cars” “playing with trains” and “reading books.” I’ve been working all winter to try and set aside baby toys and books that the boys have long outgrown. Of course, separating them only makes them more intriguing to Caleb and Wyatt who want to know why they’re getting set aside.

Me: “Well, they’re for the new baby.”

C&W: “The new baby?”

Me: “Yep, he’ll need toys, clothes and books just like you did when you were a baby”

C&W: “We’re gonna put our (half-eaten) pancakes in the fridge for the new baby”

Me: Thanks, guys.

The great thing about having a boy is that I don’t have to think about a lot of things to buy since we have so many hand-me-downs, times two! I half-jokingly suggested to Shane that my goal is that I won’t have to do any laundry for this new baby since we have so many clothes!

The new baby needs a nursery and I’ve made zero progress on that front but I’m not worried. Some new paint, a new dresser, and wall art should be all we need. The crib and glider all all set from the last time we had a nursery.

This second pregnancy is much different than my first in many ways. When you’re only expecting one and not two, you don’t get so uncomfortable as fast. Although, the second time around your belly “pops” much earlier, so I feel like I look like I’m pregnant with twins! Luckily, I still have plenty of energy and aside from the infrequent heartburn and fatigue, I’ve had zero pregnancy symptoms! I think when you’re pregnant the first time around, it’s all-consuming. I’d spend all my free time researching baby products and reading pregnancy books. Every conversation I had with my husband started with “When the babies arrive…” It’s very different this time around. The boys keep me very busy so I don’t really have the time to revel in the fact that another is on the way. I try to consciously “bond” with the baby in the evenings when I have time to unwind. I try to picture what he’ll look like, what kind of a personality he’ll have, how much he’ll look up to his big brothers and how he’ll change our family forever.

I can’t wait to meet him! I just hope this little guy knows what he’s in for!

Posted in Family

Not-So-Super Bowl

Is it safe to come out yet? Yowzers, that was a rough one. Our family cheers for the Broncos and we were SO excited when they won their way into the Super Bowl! We debated whether or not to have a party (decided against, since my husband isn’t exactly social while watching his favorite team, understandably so) and carefully crafted the perfect Colorado-esque menu for game day.

Don’t get me wrong, we still had a phenomenal day despite our team getting absolutely smoked by the Seahawks. The boys knew there was a big game and were excited to cheer for their Broncos. One of their parents, ahem not me, got them dressed in their jerseys as soon as they got out of bed! It was like a football fan’s version of Christmas morning!

Dressed before the sun came up!

Literally still dark outside

Breakfast burritos with pork green chile (a Colorado staple) filled us up for several hours. We took the boys outside to play basketball and with their trikes in our cul-de-sac while enjoying the relatively milder temps.

photo 2 (5)

photo 1 (8)

Shane watched so many hours of pre-game analysis that I had pretty much lost interest before the game even started! I didn’t mind since we had an agreement that I would be on twin duty if the boys didn’t sit and watch the game… which they didn’t. We played with toys but very quickly (after the first play of the game) realized I had to find a quiet room in the house, insulated from the string of profanities that were being muttered (hmm, maybe a bit louder than muttered) from the sole spectator in the house.

Some healthy snacks...

Some healthy snacks…

...and some not-so-healthy ones!

…and some not-so-healthy ones!





We holed up in a bedroom with an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba on the laptop and the boys would look at me, confused, every time they heard Shane yelling at the TV. They’re not used to hearing so much yelling, which I guess is a good thing! I had to explain that Daddy was just very excited about the game and was cheering for the Broncos.

Needless to say after dinner, books and bedtime for the boys I nervously joined my husband on the couch. At this point it was the 3rd quarter and the yelling, swearing and pacing had long stopped. Shane and I were definitely upset by the outcome of the game, and the fact that our team didn’t exactly show up to play, but we still had an awesome Super Bowl Sunday as a family. And hey, there’s always next year, right?

Posted in Weekend

Update on Mr. Caleb

It’s been a while since I wrote about where Caleb stands with his current therapy routine and his progress so here it goes:

Caleb is doing fantastic. He has great stamina and is very strong. His upper-body is actually especially strong since he uses it to compensate for his legs, which are affected by his cerebral palsy. He’s a very hard worker, but does experience his share of frustration from time to time. I honestly feel like some of the frustration might stem from having a twin brother who can do some things that Caleb can’t quite yet but he always finds a way. Caleb is also very sneaky and sometimes likes to find shortcuts during therapy because he’s a super-smart kid. When the therapist is trying to get him to twist his trunk and reach for a toy, he’ll just look at her and grab the closest toy and start playing with it instead. Silly guy. He has become really, really fast with his walker. With quickness comes decreased proper walking form, but you can tell he loves the feeling of going fast so how exactly are we supposed to take that away from him? When he wants to walk slowly, he’s gotten so much better at lifting his leg high enough so his foot clears the ground (no toe dragging) and he’s even able to heel-strike properly when he really puts his mind to it. Here’s a video of Caleb and Wyatt playing outside in early December.

Over the fall, Shane would take Caleb up to Baltimore 2x/week for a 6-week boost therapy treatment. The increased frequency definitely helped Caleb’s stamina and form. Not only that, but he starting using the Lite Gait apparatus to suspend him over a treadmill to get familiar with taking a lot of steps. The more steps he would take, the more his muscles would loosen up and his stride would get bigger, with less muscle tone interference. Of course, this treadmill work was really tiring so it wasn’t uncommon for Caleb to fall asleep before they even left Baltimore!

We’re back to our old schedule of physical therapy in Baltimore every other week and a therapist from the Infants & Toddlers program in our home 1x/week. We’ve also starting seeing a new physical therapist locally every other week on the weeks that we don’t go up to Baltimore, so Caleb averages 2 PT sessions per week and 2 occupational therapy sessions per month. The new therapist Rockville puts Caleb in downhill ski boots which gives him the proper support he needs to get his ankles, knees, hips and spine into alignment. With the boots on, he’s able to stand up independently from a seated position and stand in place all by himself! It’s quite the feat and his best time was 28 seconds of standing completely unaided. He will occasionally lean forward or backward, but the stability of the boots forces him to use his core to correct his posture, so he’s the one figuring out what it takes to stand up straight and how to correct it.

Caleb is still practicing on the treadmill with the new therapist too.  Here’s a video of him walking, holding onto a bar for support at 0.5 mph on the treadmill. We worked on this at the very end of the session when I thought he would be tired but his muscles were actually very limber from all the exercises and stretches he had been doing.Pretty amazing that he doesn’t need any help aside from the bar! 

We’ve been really impressed with all the therapists that are involved in Caleb’s care and have enjoyed watching Caleb gain greater independence in his every day activities!

Posted in Caleb, Cerebral Palsy, Physical Therapy

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