Sunday, February 23, 2014

Welcome to the World!

My best friend had a baby...

and he is perfect in every way! 

Welcome to the world Carter! We so love you! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

   Yesterday CJ had his Pulmonary check up at Riley Hospital. He is a weighing in at 11.10 pounds and 24 1/2 inches long. He is in the 30th % for weight and the 87% for height. He continues to be growing well! 

    The best possible news we could have gotten was that we could continue to wean CJ off of his oxygen. He was weaned down from a .50 flow to a .25 flow at his appointment in January.  At this appointment, we were so blessed to find out that his lungs are continuing to grow and improve and we are able to wean him down in his oxygen again! He is able to come OFF of his oxygen and monitor during the day, but must be in them at night. This is the BEST news! As soon as I got him home this happened...

OFF came the monitor! OFF came the oxygen! ON came the smiles from our miracle baby! 

He kept touching his face trying to figure out what was missing! No love lost in the missing cannula! 

After a little mini photo shoot...under 100 photos taken...I took my baby for a walk...cord free for the first time ever. I was only able to take 10 steps until I had tears streaming down my face. Simpley picking him up, not having to worry of there was enough slack in the oxygen cord, if the cord is tangled, of the cord is just GET UP and WALK AROUND ?!? So simple, yet such a huge milestone accomplishment. 

I then spent the next 2 hours of just walking around with him...crying tears of utter joy...walking up and down the stairs...smiling like a crazy lunatic...walking in circles...crying some more...walking in closets/bathrooms and closing doors. 
  It's amazing to not have a 57 foot cable trailing around behind us or carrying a mobile  oxygen tank. Seeing this cannula hanging on the tank still gets my teary eyed. 7 months ago we were told that having an abortion would be the best...but we never even entertained that idea. 

We never gave up on our baby. We were already so in love with him that "giving up" on him was never an option. He was ours, no matter what and was going to be loved and cared for to the fullest and best of our abilities.  We never dreamed how well he would be doing...we just celebrate every little thing he is able to do because after all, despite all the odds stacked up against him... 


Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope your Valentine's Day was as full of love as ours was! 

We're so blessed to have our 3 little loves! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

School Time: Sight Words

Each week, I have been adding "sight words" to Lacey's school time. These are words that are used most frequently in the English Language, sometimes referred to as "High Frequency Words" or even "Red Words."  These words I'll put on our pantry door, close to where she eats.  While we are in the kitchen, making food, eating, playing, cleaning, etc. throughout the day, I'll point to one and ask her to tell me what it is.  We started out with the words I and a since she already knew those letters.  Then I added the word "see."  This way, we can start putting those words together to make a sentence and play games. This is the first step in actual reading, understanding that the sounds that come out of your mouth can be put onto paper, and those letters/words on paper can be linked to concrete things.  We played a version of "I Spy" using these words.  Once she started to get "bored" with this, I increased the level of difficulty by adding color words.  The color words I first write using the color it is.  For example, I would write the word RED using a red crayon. Once she mastered that word, I'll add another color word.   When I am certain that she knows a color word, I will then re-write that word using to match the other sight words.  This way, she is focusing on the letters to tell her what the word is and not the color of the letters.

   We still play our "I Spy" game.  The KEY to keeping her so interested is adding new words, playing the game, but most importantly....a pointer!  This is so fun to her for some reason. I just use a food skewer that I had in my kitchen...cut off the pointy end first!  She LOVES pointing to the words and pretending that she is the teacher and I am the student.  Since it is done in the kitchen, I can still clean the kitchen, make lunch/dinner, bring laundry to fold, pay bills, etc.

I love that she is even starting to correct herself when she accidentally points to a wrong word. This lets me know that she has mastered these words.  She learns from these mistakes and she can not only correct herself, but she can correct me too when I make a "mistake."  

 Oh, our learning takes on all sorts of facets.  Some days, we have music class where we focus on "pop culture" music.  This is her newest song...Timber by Pitbull and Kesha.  

  Just getting her ready to be a productive member of society....or a dance club! 
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CJ at 5 Months Old

Five months ago, this little tiny baby was born.  His survival was only given a 70% chance by the doctor.  We've been blessed with 5 months of uncertainty, laughs, cries, smiles, but always love.

While CJ was born 5 months ago, he is more like a 2 month old....which he would be if he wasn't born 3 months premature.  As a 5 month old, he is behind in the developmental milestones.  As a 2 month old, he is right on target!

CJ still spends the majority of his time with Mommy and Lacey at home, in the living room.  He remains on oxygen 24/7 but is only on the Apnea/Heart monitor at night.  He has not had an Apnea episode since January 8th! His oxygen is on a flow of .25, but we are hoping that at his Pulmonary appointment on Friday he will graduate to only needing to be on oxygen at night time.  

As far as weight and height, all I know for sure is that he has almost grown completely out of his 0-3 month clothing and is close to 12 pounds.  He has his pediatrician appointment later this week so I'll update with the actual stats after that appointment. 

    As far as milestones are concerned, he is now sleeping through most of the night.  He will take his last feeding around 9:30pm and sleep usually until 5/5:30 AM.  We still have the occasional nights where he wakes up at 3 AM to eat, but he is a growing boy after all! He still is solely breast fed, with one bottle a day for his vitamins and his reflux medicine.  

      He is the most inquisitive baby....even more than his brother and sister.  CJ will focus on something and scrunch up his face and eyebrows studying it with such intensity.  Once he figures it out, he gets the biggest toothless smile and looks around for the next object to focus on. He is grabbing at and batting at toys, but they only keep his attention for a short period of time.  He prefers to be up and looking around.  Tummy time goes well as long as the surface he is doing it on is off of the ground.  On the ground, there isn't too much to look at, but by raising him up, he lifts his head more due to more being at his line of vision.  He is loving the Bumbo seat more and more as his strength is growing in his neck and core muscles.  I imagine it is very dizzy sitting in the Bumbo when your head bobbles like a bobble head doll! Oh is smiles...light up his whole face! He is a very smiley baby, usually just catching his eye and saying a word to him will cause a fit of smiles.  No real giggles yet, but those are coming close. 

Oh this kid tries so hard to talk!  He loves when I talk to him and studies the movement of my mouth.  He tries to mimic these movements and gets so frustrated when he can't make the sounds come out.  He will push with his whole body trying to make a noise.

I still keep him pretty tight under quarantine at our house.  Clayton and Lacey have came down with a cold so I am even more strict than usual.  It took get this little miracle well enough to come home from the hospital and I will do everything I can to keep him from going back. His health and safety will always be the top priority.

While there is still so much uncertainty with CJ and his development, one thing can be sure...

Our love for him keeps growing and growing! 

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Date Day: Mommy/Daughter

Lacey and I had a special Mommy-Daughter date today. When I was gone in the hospital, it effected her much more roughly than I could have ever imagined. While it was the very best decision and I don't regret it for one second, I still harbor guilty feelings over leaving Clayton and especially Lacey. Lacey stays home with me now, but she never gets my full attention. On the weekends when Curt is home, I like to take Lacey to do special activities. Curt stays home with our boys and Lacey gets much needed undivided attention from her Mommy, who totally adores her. Last weekend we saw the Disney movie Frozen...LOVE, we've been singing the songs all week...this weekend was a nail salon date. 

     She was so excited! She waited so very patiently, holding on to the nail polish she chose...

which, if you know Lacey, she chose...

I was so proud of how still she sat and how patient she was while her nails were painted. 

She was so in love with her nails and felt like such a big girl. Oh, my baby girl is can this be!?!?

"Oh Mommy, my nails are so booty-ful! I just love them so!"

Since we don't get out of the house much with CJ unless it is a doctor's appointment or speech therapy, we decided to go into Starbucks. A drink for me and a cake pop for Lacey....and one for her big brother at home.  Once the barista saw how well behaved Lacey was, he made her a mini-chocolate chip frappacino. She was obsessed with it! 

She and I had the BEST time together. 

She is wild. She is loud. She hugs and kisses often. She loves fully.  I'm so proud to be her Mom. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

School Time with Lacey: Post Its

I try to mix up activities to do with Lacey during our school time.  Especially since we are having to stay inside, she has alot of energy to burn along with her getting bored with the same activities.  One of her favorite activities we do actually didn't cost me any money, helps get her energy out and keeps her occupied, and she learns!  All we need is this:

There are so many different ideas to do with them!   I try to mix it up so she doesn't get bored.  I sometimes write letters of numbers on them and have her put them in order.  Only, instead of having her sit and move the papers in order, I have her moving the post its from one place to the next to order them..

This not only helps her learn, but she gets some of her energy out as well.  This is great when I'm making lunch for her or cleaning the kitchen.  I put the post its on one side of the kitchen mixed up and she has to walk them over to the other side to put them in order.   On this day, she was ordering numbers 1-15.   To help with number recognition, I leave the post its and wait.  When the post it falls, as they will, she runs over to it, shouts out the number/letter and has to put it back in the correct order...I'm using her OCD to help her learn! Ha! 

 On days where I need to fold laundry or when I'm doing exercises with CJ,  I have Lacey "hunt and search" for the post its. I'll hide them in another room of the house and she has to run and find them all, then put them in order.  This gets out even more of her energy along with keeping her occupied so I can get some work done.  The trick is to make sure YOU remember how many post its you hid! For younger kiddos, you could have them hunt and search for the post-its with shapes or even the post-its with their names on it.  When Lacey was learning how to spell her name, I would hid post-its with the letters of her name and she would have to find them and then put them in the correct order to spell her name. Its almost like Easter egg hunting, but with post its.  Learning! Exercise! Fun! 
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Princess Turns 4!

Lacey turns 4 years old today. I couldn't be more proud of her or more in love with her.  She has grown from a red fuzzy haired baby...

To the most beautiful and intelligent little toddler girl.  When describing Lacey to others who don't know her, I always say that Lacey does everything with every part of her.  She loves, hates, cries, laughs with every part of her body and emotion.

Birthday parties this year for both Clayton and Lacey are suspended due to CJ coming home at the height of RSV season.  I just can't risk his health for a party.  However, that doesn't mean that I can't decorate like we are having one to hopefully make their birthday's special.  Lacey wanted a unicorn themed birthday this year...she has been watching a lot of Despicable Me and a character on it carries a unicorn.  While I couldn't fine any unicorn party decorations, there was plenty of My Little Pony...she didn't notice the difference! 

She was so surprised when she woke up from a nap on Sunday to see all of the decorations.  Lacey does about 10 outfit changes a day.  I never know what she is going to have on when she comes around the corner. When she laid down for her nap, she had a totally different outfit on then the one she came downstairs in...but she matched her birthday decorations perfectly!

   Dear Lacey,  

       I am having a hard time believing that you turned 4 years old today.  

  The past 6 months have been challenging for our family, but I fear that it has effected you the most.  In April when we found out you had a PDA and needed corrective heart surgery I was completely devastated.   I would have traded places with you in a heart pun intended...if I could.  You took it all in stride, like it was nothing.  Thank God your surgery was successful and you have blossomed.  Your Daddy and I think you have physically grown leaps and bounds and since your surgery. You have grown from wearing size 3T to 4Ts for you big girl! You are tall and thin, just like your Daddy!  Your energy is limitless, as is your laughs, hugs, and kisses. 
    In July when I had to go on bed rest you were perfectly content to climb on the couch and cuddle and snuggle with me.  Then in August when I went into the hospital, I was so worried about how you would handle me being away and how you would act when you saw my laying in the hospital bed.  You did have a little bit of a rough patch then, but you never hesitated to climb in my bed with me for our snuggles and cuddles.  After your check up with the all clear on your heart, Daddy brought you to visit me in the hospital.  For 4 hours, you laid next to me in bed, being so gently with rubbing your baby brother in my tummy and curled right into me.  It was by far my best day in the hospital.  It was rough on you with me being away, and I hated it but it was necessary for your brother's survival.  

 You are such a great big sister to CJ.  You throw away his diapers...yes, even the poo diapers too.  You love to hold him and hug him.  Clayton is still your favorite by far.  I love to watch the two of you play together, especially in the jump house.    Your favorite colors are purple and pink and you love anything with a little bling.  You always want your hair long and greatly dislike it when I try to brush.  Your favorite food to eat is still chicken nuggets, spaghetti, and pancakes.  However, you are developing a big sweet clue who you get that from!  You love oreos and nuetella.  
   You love to do school time with Mommy.  You know all of your ABCs, can write your name, order numbers 1-13, make patterns, cut using scissors, and dot to dots.  
   Today on your 4th birthday, you will be spending it at home with me and your baby brother.  We will spend our day making bracelets, playing Pop the Pig, and putting puzzles together.  We will dance, we will sing, we will love, and we will have so much fun together.  When Daddy and Clayton come home from school, we'll have our celebration. You decided you wanted spaghetti for dinner...Yum!

My wish for you is that you always know how very special and how loved you  will always be my sweet, wild girl.  You are your Momma's girl...through and through...and I couldn't be more proud! 

    I love you Lacey!

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