The past few weeks around the Harris-Odum household have been filled with people, good food, amazing developments from our anti-preemie and a big fundraising drive for the Alta Bates NICU.
First- to the family updates. Thanksgiving this year was especially special for us as it was the first time we all celebrated as a four person family… together. Last year for Thanksgiving, Sam was still in the NICU. This year, all four of us piled into the car, drove to my cousin Jennifer’s house, and had a wonderful time. I think the best part of the evening is when we lined up all the youngsters in the house to take a picture for my grandfather of all of his great-grand kids.
I think those smiles says it all about how much fun we all had- eating, playing and hanging out. The only thing the picture doesn’t convey is the noise level in the room. Six well behaved children in one house is still very, very loud!
Sam has had a pretty incredible month himself. In the past two weeks, he has really started to talk- and I am not just talking baby talk. He is up to three official words, and he is working on more. His first word was “gato” (cat in spanish for those who are not sure). What is great, is this keeps a family tradition alive. Gato was my brother’s first word. It was also Irene’s first word. Sam also says “ball” and “done”. For those wondering, Sam is 14.5 months old, corrected down to 11 months. That means, he is starting to talk really early- just like his big sister.
Also following his sister’s lead, Sam is starting to show signs that he will be an early walker. He is already a great puller-uper and cruiser. But now, with the aid of a push toy or his daddy, Sam loves to walk- or run as fast as possible. He is so proud when he is running while holding daddy’s hands, its sweet. I have not been able to get this on video- yet- but I will keep trying.
The other skill Sam picked up is mimicking his sister.
This game went on for about 45 minutes. The best was, as an experiment, we had peter hold the ball up and make the sounds. Sam looked at him like he was crazy. He kept looking over to where Irene was sitting like “why aren’t you playing with me.” The moment the ball was back in sissy’s hands, Sam broke into a huge smile and began laughing. It was also great to see how much Irene enjoyed playing with Sam. The pure joy emanating from her was as infectious as Sam’s laugh.
Later that same night, Peter got Sam to let out a series of laughs like I had never heard before:
Before we get to the gaggle of pictures of the past few weeks, I do want to put a plea out for a fundraising drive I am working on. As some of you know, I am a member of the NICU Family Advisory Council for Alta Bates. You can learn more about us here. One part of our charter is to help raise money to help the neediest families that also have a baby or babies in the NICU. The funds we raise will be used to purchase food and gas vouchers, and, in the most extreme cases, car seats and other essential baby items to help families bring their little ones home. In this holiday season, if you (or your company) are looking for an organization to donate to, I would like to put out plea for this one. The need is so great right now, that even the smallest contribution will really have a real and immediate impact. If you are interested in donating, you can access the donation form HERE.
OK, now to the pictures: