Practically Perfect in Every Way

Lucie was born a week before Christmas and came home from the hospital a few days after Easter. Since both of these times of year have their rhythms that repeat through traditions, meals together, songs and even gifts, they always bring back floods of memories both scary and sweet that I'm grateful to reflect on.

April 8th is what we affectionately refer to as, "Lucie Day". It's the day we got to bring our daughter home. It's the day that we took the trip to the Mt. Sinai NICU for the last time and left with a baby in our arms instead of empty handed. Amazingly enough, it was also Lucie's original due date. When I think of the many intricate and meaningful details like that one for instance, it makes me think of Mary Poppins and how she was described as being, "practically perfect in every way".  (Can't you just hear the British accent?)

And it doesn't end there when it comes to cool details - we have tons of examples and reminders of those perfect provisions. (Early Intervention Therapy, awesome team of therapists, fabulous service coordinator, great day school within walking distance... the list goes on.) Even more related to that quote above though, is Lucie's nanny, Aly. You know in the movie when Jane and Michael Banks write their wish list for their next nanny? Their dad rips up the list and throws it in the fire place, the pieces fly up the chimney and make their way to the hands of Mary Poppins, who of course shows up fulfilling every item on the list and more. Aly is like that for us. We always get asked how we found Aly, and I sometimes jokingly reply, "Jesuuuuuus"... but for real, we couldn't have asked for a more amazing, thoughtful, loving, discerning person to care for Lucie every afternoon while Rob is coaching and I'm still at work. She is practically perfect in every way and we are so thankful because having her in our lives is such an answer to prayer. Aly is also an actress and she will be gone for a few months acting in a play, we're so (tearfully) happy for her. We're hopeful that we can quickly find a great sub for while she's gone.

Now that all of my traveling has winded down, we have been trying to enjoy as many things as we can together. We've been going to the park on nice days, and making forts, watching movies, and going to indoor gyms and museums for play dates on the yuckier days. We went to Sesame Street Live and Lucie's excitement was insanely infectious so we all ended up having a blast. There was a dance number she liked so much she had to get out of her seat to stand in in the aisle - she started shouting, "Go Cookie, Go Monster, Go Lucie!" It was pure, unabashed thrill and joy, which made our hearts just want to burst.

Since Lucie LOVES Honey Nut Cheerios, we've also started making Cheerio treats together. We sing a song, "making cheerios, making cheerios, making cheerios!" - so when she wants one she asks for them by saying, "making cheerios?". One of the days that she wasn't feeling well, we made an indoor picnic and watched Moana. At first, I thought the movie was just okay, but after hearing Lucie catch on to the songs so quickly and listening to her sing parts of them, "and no one knooooowssss, how far it goooooes," with the cutest scrunchy face you've ever seen, or say things like, "I'm running fast... Fast like Moana," I now officially love the movie because it is part of her childhood. She's talking so much too. She'll say, "Let's pray" - almost always before we eat or before bed, even in public, which is so cool, and if it's before a meal then when we say, "Amen", she says, "Let's eat!" She will pretend she's talking to people on our cell phones, she'll say, "Hello? It's Rob." and she had us cracking up one time when she said, "This is Andrea," exactly like I say it when I answer calls while I'm working from home. She loves singing, and like I said, catches on to songs really fast. She'll be singing on stage with the kids ministry at church on Palm Sunday while Rob plays the drums - hopefully! I keep thinking mid-song she's going to jump in his lap to play drums too. 

Several visitors came our way in the last month. We got to host our cousin Tiffany for a few days, getting to take her around to some of our favorite spots. We got to spend an evening cracking up with one of our close friends, Billy and also got to visit with my friend Renee who I've known since college when I was in Cru. She led many bible studies that I was a part of and I loved getting to connect with her again. (Her sweet miracle daughter was a flower girl in our wedding.)

In March we also had a few doctors visits regarding Lucie's swallow. She's had trouble swallowing thin liquids, in fact we still have to add a thickener to her water so that she can control the sip size and not choke. During a follow up meeting after her ear tube surgery in November, the ENT doctor also found a cyst at the base of her tongue so he will continue to monitor that every 3 months and believes that when she's a little older she will have to have surgery to get it removed. In March we took her in for a swallow study and found that the cyst it is not impacting her swallow, she isn't aspirating liquids or experiencing laryngeal penetration (which had all been a concern). They confirmed that she does have an immature chew pattern so she'll need to continue to work on her breathe-drink-swallow coordination. It was helpful to learn tips on how we can help her practice her chewing to strengthen her mouth and jaw. At the end of March, she also had her first dentist appointment and did great! 

Lastly, schools. So, since Lucie was born in December, she can actually start school in 3-year old programs this September, even though she'll be 2 years and 9 months old. That means that although she is eligible to continue to receive the amazing Early Intervention Services she has been receiving since she was 7 months old and can also stay at her day school until December, it is best to get her transitioned to the 3-year old programs at the beginning of the school year in September as opposed to the middle of the school year in January. Lucie's team of therapists all feel that Lucie will continue to thrive in a integrated full day school program, which includes typical kiddos as well as those who receive services of some kind. So right now, we are researching a ton of school options for her and scheduling school tours so that we can visit them and ask questions. In order to apply to any of these schools, Lucie will need to go through several developmental evaluations that she will be participating in over the course of a day and a half at the end of April. The results of these evaluations come sometime in July. At that point, if they determine that she can still remain eligible for services, her spot at one of the integrated schools would be 100% covered by the Department of Education -- pending availability of spots at the schools we're interested in, because July is rather late to get into schools in the City. All of this is basically a huge opportunity to continue to grow in faith and trust that God's got this - as He always does - amiright? He's been so faithful every step of the way when it comes to providing all of the support Lucie has needed, so we know it will work out, but I need to be reminded of that daily because the whole process of touring, and Lucie getting evaluated, etc, etc, is stressful to coordinate and think about. Stay tuned! I'm sure it will all work out and be, "practically perfect in every way," too!

That basically covers everything we've been up to for the last several weeks. Now that it's Spring, we're hoping to enjoy even more days outside together and we're excited that Lucie will have a new cousin in less than a week! Enjoy the pics below - Rob wrote most of the captions =).

Thinking of this verse that we chose for Lucie when she was born and praying that she will always filled with light and a joyful song as her name, Lucille Carolyn is defined. 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
— Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭16

Sending lot's of love, 

Los Hicksons