Tuesday, December 29, 2009

All I want for New Year's....

...is my two front teeth!

I kept telling Carson that it was only a matter of time before his top two teeth wiggled their way out of his mouth.  We were hoping for Christmas but I guess today is close enough.  Our baby lost his third and forth teeth this afternoon about 4 hours apart and is now sporting a wide, toothless grin.  He wrote a creative note to the ToothFairy before bed and left both teeth for her on his nightstand.  The Tooth Fairy may have boosted her usual fare of $2 per tooth since Carson provided a double whammy today.  I can't wait to see his face when he discovers five $1 bills and a note in the morning.  Let's just hope he doesn't try to whistle in excitement!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Important Things

As I sit here in bed at 11:38 on Christmas night I feel the need to write down the little things from this day that may get forgotten over time.  I want to remember the little things like:

  • Eli going to bed with his snow boots on, hat in hand with his Polar Express ticket inside just in case the magical train pulled up outside our house to take him on a Christmas Eve adventure
  • Carson jumping two feet in the air when he saw the LEGO city construction box
  • Al's loving smile as he watched the boys share their new found toys with each other
  • My little sister being taken care of by her new husband since she spent Christmas day not feeling well
  • Carson opening Aunt Yaya and Uncle Keith's gift and telling them he loved it but had found it when he spent the night at their house last week and didn't want to tell him and ruin the surprise
  • Eli playing for hours on end with the Steaming Thomas battery train that Santa and his elves worked so hard on to make for him
  • Hearing Al's parents voices on the phone and wishing they were here to spend more time with us
  • Watching all the doggies cuddle together on the couch and take turns chewing on the ham bone outside
  • Having four generations together in the same room celebrating the birth of Christ
  • Realizing that I am incredibly blessed to have so many friends and family surrounding me in my life and to have the opportunity spend precious time with all of them

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

We tracked Santa on NORAD all evening as Carson exclaimed, "Rudolph really exists!".  Carson and Elias carefully wrote their letter and laid it out amoung cookies and milk.  They plugged in the Christmas lights and rushed to get jammies on and teeth brushed.  We relaxed in my bed (since I'm not allowed up!) and read Christmas books until sleepy eyes were drooping.  After kisses and hugs and Merry Christmas wishes the boys are sleeping soundly at 8:30 Christmas Eve. 

What a magical time.  I wouldn't miss any of this for the world!

Surgery (again)

Yesterday I had surgery and am now at home recovering.  My full time nurse Al is taking excellent care of me in addition to both our boys.  I was having intense pain for the past few months in my lower left quadrant and had chopped it up to pain from my previous surgeries (hysterectomy and endometriomas in my rectus muscle).  Unfortunately it wasn't pain from previous surgeries and my ob/gyn needed to do surgery to see what was going on.  The surgery was originally more involved and complicated but my amazing surgeon worked hard to keep it through the scope (almost two hours) so I wouldn't have to recover from another open lap.  He found extensive adhesions encapulating my bladder and adhering it to my left ovary.  My sigmoid colon was also wrapped in adhesions and stuck to my posterior wall.  After preparing myself to wake up post-laparotomy with both ovaries removed, I was thrilled to not be in surgical menopause and only have three small incisions.  My doctor rocks and I can't thank him enough for working hard to keep everything as least invasive as possible so I can recover faster and be home for Christmas. 

Thanks for all of the prayers and help everyone.  We couldn't do it without you. 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jam Session

My uncle and cousins came over on Friday night and brought a 12 string guitar and a drum.  They both are incredibly talented musicians and since Carson and Elias are becoming more and more interested in music, we thought a jam session would be perfect for Christmas.  Michael is going to start doing private guitar lessons for the boys in the spring and I can't wait.  Carson found the drums to be more to his liking and played the heck out of them.  Although the 12 string was almost as big as him, Eli was a natural.  It was a great evening with family and fun.  I can't wait to get the boys instruments of their own!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Early Presents

Granny and Papaw were able to come up for Thanksgiving and brought along with them the gifts Santa dropped off at their house.  Carson and Elias were shocked when they learned Granny and Papaw were going to let them open their Christmas gifts early.  Carson marveled at Lego City and Elias could hardly contain his excitement when he saw battery trains.  Santa made much too large of a trip to Granny/Papaw and Great Granny's house this year.  We are truly blessed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pool Party!

The boys had a birthday party on Friday for one of their little girlfriends. The pool was warm and they both had a blast. Splashing, sliding, and swimming their hearts out alongside all of the neighborhood kiddos. Too bad summer is gone and the pool will be few and far between. Carson and Elias are natural born fish!

Two exhausted boys asleep at Gigi's house post-party.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight For Preemies

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. The March of Dimes continues their campaign to prevent prematurity and set November 17th (today) as a day to Fight for Preemies. As everyone knows, prematurity has rocked our universe twice and left a lasting impact on our lives. Carson's arrival ten weeks premature at 30 weeks gestation was shocking as first time parents. We fought through the NICU, attended follow-up appointments, pushed early intervention, and researched like crazy people. As I was being admitted at 23 weeks with Elias we couldn't believe prematurity was going to impact our family once again. Twelve days later at 25 weeks Elias was pulled into this world in an emergency c-section septic from my chorioamniotis secondary to pPROM. Terrifying as it was to be in the NICU again, it was even more frightening to have experience in that strange world and fear going through it all with a micropreemie. Elias has always been a fighter like his brother but he has endured so much in his short 4 years. Prematurity is only one aspect of our children's lives but it has played a substantial role in their direction and experiences.

I found a career I cherish through the experiences prematurity gave me and now have the privilege to care for premature infants through the NICU. The ability to see both sides of the NICU rollercoster is often a blessing in my nursing but bittersweet. Prematurity needs a voice, awareness, understanding for us to combat the continuing rise of early births and their implications on life. Please stop by the March of Dimes and learn more about how you can help the fight.

Lost in Leaves

Friday, November 13, 2009

Down for the Count

This is what happens when an energetic first grader who has been running at full speed for the past two weeks attempts to go color at 7:45 in the evening.

One minute he is jabbering at light speed and skipping to the art supply shelves and then next he is sprawled out across the dining room floor. I guess when you're exhausted you can fall asleep anywhere in a few seconds! Carson didn't wake up when we carried him upstairs, changed him into pjs, or tucked him in. This morning he said that his head hurt so he just laid down when he got to the art bins. I better go clean the drool out of our carpet now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You

Happy Veteran's Day! Thank you to every brave and honorable man and woman who has served this country and continues to serve this country. God bless America!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Snake Feet

Elias finally received his blue snakeskin AFOs this week. They fit so much better and we are already able to see a difference in the tightness of his legs. He says that they are "snake feet". Chasing Carson around the house while wearing them has become one of his favorite pasttimes. I can only imagine what design Eli will pick out when he outgrows this pair of AFOs.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


One scary "bottle bones" aka skeleton and one fiercesome ninja. Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Craziness of Life

I realize that it has been five whole weeks since my last update. My goodness, where has the time gone? Well...let me tell you.

1.) Carson and Elias
These two are growing and changing in so many ways. Carson has a new found love of reading and thinks heading off to the local library is a treat. His reading vocabulary has taken off exponentially and we are almost to the point of easy chapter books. Wow is all I can say. Elias is also expanding his presence by shooting up to incredible heights. I can't believe my itty bit is this tall at 4 years old. He writes his name and is starting to do simple word recognition for reading. His new braces still have not arrived due to United Health Care loosing the request for payment and Al and I not having an extra $2400 laying around to pay cash. I will post pics when the famous blue snake skin AFOs arrive.

2.) Cooking
I have become slightly obsessed with fall cooking over the past month. Pumpkin pancakes, Buckeye brownies, beef roast soup, pork loin with roasted vegetables, and more. The downside of my cooking is that I'm gaining a bit of weight but at least I'm happy!

3.) School
I have yet to officially talk about my new adventure on this blog aside from alluding to it in my last post so here goes. Last spring I began the process of applying to Graduate school at The Ohio State University to get my Masters degree with specialty in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. My work awards a scholarship to NNPs and I applied on the recommendation of several NNPs on my unit. The process was long and included papers, nine interviews, and a lot of anxiety over the span of 4 months. At the end of July I was awarded this amazing opportunity. My employer is paying for all of my tuition and books for the two years of grad school. I also have an educational stipend to ensure that I can continue providing for our family and succeed in school. This entails me working 16 hours a week and receiving 36 hours a week of pay. I have to work my usual 36 hours when school is not in session (winter break and spring break). After completing my program and becoming a licensed, certified, and credentialed NNP (and getting my certificate to prescribe), I will have a two year commitment as an NNP on my unit. It is an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm so blessed to have it.

School is exciting, stimulating, and exhausting. I am taking five grad courses this quarter and reading so much material my eyes feel like they are bleeding! Next quarter I only have two classes with one being the first in a series of three neonatal pathophysiology courses. I am learning so much and enjoying being back in school. The papers and reading are intense but so far I am balancing well. It's great to be a Buckeye. O-H-!

4.) The Hubs
Al's new job is working out wonderfully with our family life. His hours are flexible but stable. Seeing him walk out the door every morning dressed in a suit isn't so bad either. He is a marketing, sales, education, nursing machine and I couldn't be more proud of him.

So, as you can see, there are plenty of mentioned and unmentioned reasons for the poor blog not being updated in over a month. I promise we are all alive (barely) and living life. I have many posts up in my head to get on here but they will have to wait until the course work I have left this week is finished. Until then, happy fall!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Extreme Prematurity - A Realistic View

As a NICU nurse and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner student (more on that next week), I feel that the public needs a wake-up call on extreme prematurity. My professional experiences have shaped my personal views in addition to being the mother of both our premature boys. Seeing Carson and Elias born at 30 and 25 weeks gestation was shocking to say the least. Watching the hardships and hurdles they have gone through in the past six and four years has been impossible at times. Our boys are fairly unscathed from their prematurity based on their gestational ages even though both will deal with long term impacts of early birth for their lifetimes. To hear about a campaign to change the law in the UK based on the birth and death of a 21 week fetus and the misconceptions surrounding extreme prematurity is disheartening.

Stop over to Reality Rounds for a realistic view of extreme prematurity and response to the Justice for Jayden movement entitled Is letting a 21 week premature baby die considered health care rationing?. She has it right and hopefully the public perception will shift towards the actual impact of extreme prematurity instead of becoming wrapped up in the hype of "miracle" stories that the press promotes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Miracle Grow and Casting

My mother always told people she sprinkled Miracle Grow on my cereal in the morning because I grew like a weed as a child. Either Al is poisoning our children or they grow just like the two of us. Elias had a physical medicine appointment on Tuesday to check up on his cerebral palsy and make sure his braces were appropriate. I knew the little man had grown but the numbers were shocking. He is now 37lbs (with clothes on) and a whopping 45 inches tall. No wonder he needs size 5 jeans this fall! Those numbers place him at the 55th% for weight and way off the chart for height at the height of an average 6 year old! Too bad his BMI is only 5.6 and he's below the 3rd percentile in weight-for-length. We grow them tall and skinny though because Carson is built the exact same way.

This amazing growth spurt seems to have created a small problem with his AFO braces however. He needs new AFOs casted and made for a taller version of Eli. His phys med doctor said that he looks pretty good and the AFOs are definitely making a difference in his gait and heel tightness. He is hyper extending his knees a bit though so his new AFOs will be made to create less free movement in his knee joint. Today at the orthodic office Eli picked out blue snake skin patterned AFOs with navy blue straps. He patiently let his leg molds dry and walked up and down the hallway for them to assess his gait. A Scooby-Doo sticker and watermelon sucker were his rewards for the day and he was glowing as we left.

After his appointment we headed up to the dam to test out Gigi and Bobpop's new boat. It was a surprise for Eli and he was ecstatic. Elias threw on the life jacket and jumped into the boat. We had a little picnic out on the lake and Bobpop even let Eli steer the boat for a few minutes. When we picked up Carson from school Eli couldn't wait to brag about driving the big boat. Carson can't wait to have his turn at the wheel. Now we wait for our main insurance to deny coverage on Elias' AFOs so BCMH can cover them. Policies and procedure, blah, blah, blah. I just want to see him running in some super cool snake skin braces that actually fit!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Hot Rods

Labor day weekend brought a few classics up towards our house. It was a nice day for the beginning of September so we packed up the boys and drove over to the local car show. Carson and Elias love cars and trucks so what could be better to wear them out in the middle of the day?

There was a wide variety to look at (but NOT touch!) all the way from a 1915 car on wooden spoked tires to a brand new Lamborghini and everything in between. Carson is fascinated by Mustangs and couldn't get enough of the restoration pictures each car owner was displaying. I have a feeling we will be rebuilding a car or two in our future with him. Eli liked the cars but loved the flame painted monster truck.

My parents ended up joining us and when the boys asked for lime green snow cones, Gigi made a beeline to the vendor. Both kiddos enjoyed their green mustaches and cold tongues before participating in Goo Golf. The sponsors set up a golfing game for kids where they had to use a marshmallow as a tee and hit another marshmallow off of it. The object was to hit a Goo Ball into one of the hula hoops to win a gift card. The big hoops were 5 points and the little hoops were 10 points. The boys didn't get any points but had a blast swinging the clubs at sticky, half melted marshmallows.

Here's to end of summer car shows and the last snow cone of the season!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Buckeye Fever

Today was the big season opener for The Ohio State Buckeyes. OSU vs. Navy in the Shoe and was a gorgeous day it was for the start of college football. With everyone dressed in their scarlet and grey we cheered on the Bucks to victory. A few kinks certainly need ironed out prior to USC coming next Saturday but Tressel will whip them into shape. Here's to another great year of Ohio State football in our house!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus....

Elias strapped on his bright yellow backpack and climbed up the familiar steps of his bus this morning. He woke up early and even ate all of his breakfast this morning despite being so excited he could hardly sit still (he doesn't sit still much normally!). After a few pictures and brushing his teeth, we headed up to the bus stop. Looking back through these pictures is breathtaking for Al and me. We could only hope this day would come 4 years ago while we were still in the NICU. What a gift we have been given!

Don't mind my "morning" face....no makeup yet!

Eli seeing the bus pull up!

Heading off to school.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Grade

Our baby is not a baby anymore. Carson set off for first grade this morning. He is now officially in school a full day! He enjoyed choosing his school supplies and carefully thought out the exact color he wanted his backpack to be. Last night Carson told me that he "doesn't take baths anymore, just showers". When I asked him why he wanted to switch he informed me that "baths are for little kids and all you do in the bath is play. I'm a big kid now and just need to get clean and play a little air guitar". I couldn't help but laugh because he was 100% serious.

I started up the shower for him and he washed off, scrubbed his hair, and proceeded to play air guitar for 5 minutes. It was took cute. He also wants to wear boxer briefs or boxers only now because briefs are for little kids too. When did my baby start referring to a group of children as little kids??? Wasn't he just in diapers?

I can't wait to see what first grade has in store for our big guy. He is ready to dive head first into everything at the moment and we are loving it. Six years old has turned out to be so much fun!

Elias heads back to preschool on Tuesday with the same teacher and schedule as last year. He can't wait to see his friends but today he was sad that Carson was going to be gone the entire day. They really do love each other even though some days they fight each other on every little detail.