Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas review

Every year around Christmas time, there are lots of special things in the grocery store. Desserts, toppings, coffee creamer. Right now, I'm enjoying my cup of coffee with PEPPERMINT creamer in it. YUM!

I love Christmas. I hate when it's over and the decorations go away, and the stores aren't as festive, and life loses that sense of anticipation. I have a friend that packes up all their Christmas stuff asap after the big day. That just depresses me. I usually leave ours out as long as possible, thru Jan if my family lets me! Drinking my peppermint favored coffee is one of my silly ways to keep Christmas going.

We had a lovely holiday. My parents came in town Christmas Eve and we all went to the evening service at church. (Sometimes we go to the midnight service but we thought we were too tired to stay up that long that night.) Most of the presents were wrapped, but we had to make cookies for Santa and of course finish up all that stuff that needs to be done before the BIG DAY. Everyone finally went to bed, I followed at probably 2:30 (I always think I'm done but there's always more to do) and we had a lovely Christmas morning! Everyone got their most wanted gift and a few others, and we played games and watched movies all day. The week between Christmas and New Years went by waaaaay too fast. On the 2nd, the kids and I packed up and went to my parents for my aunt's funeral. She died Chrismas Eve, but since she lived 2 states away, the funeral was postponed over a week. My dad's sister. An aunt I didn't know well at all, but I know she cared for me and my kids. I remember when she came to my wedding, how sweet she was and how excited she was to be there. She always remembered us at Christmas, and sent special gifts to the kids sometimes.

I wanted to post some photos from Christmas. First, the tree. Usually there's an angel at the top but she broke and I couldn't stand for there to be nothing up there. We had lots of Santa hats so I stuck one up there temporarily, but I kinda like it.

Here's some of the favorite presents (and one small Santa):
Like the drool?!

And this is the BEST surprise of the year-
Andrew has known the past couple of years what he's getting. Either he finds out somehow, or he's wanted something so expensive I needed his input when buying his gift. Last year, his first at high school, we got him a cell phone and I was sure we were going to surprise him. I got it and charged it, and put his # in my phone right before Christmas. On our way to pick up his then girlfriend, he used my phone to call her. The twerp then was playing with my phone and I heard him say "who's Andrew?" Yep, he found his number. Grrrr. He's been bugging us for a year for a letterman jacket. I kept saying that they were too expensive and we'd try to save up money so he could have one before next football season, all the time knowing we had it! I talked both sets of grandparents into helping us buy it, and bought the school mascot patch months ago, and ordered it so we'd have time to get all his patches sown on. Check out his eyes in the first one:

Look how proud he is!

We told him that he's really earned it, working out every day, going to every practice, putting effort into every game. He learned something from every loss and became a very gracious winner over the past 2 years. This is a boy who was never into sports before last year. He found something he loves, and he's working hard at it even when it isn't easy. We're so proud of him.

Monday, December 22, 2008

You may have noticed several new buttons I've added over on the left. They are all children waiting to go home to their adoptive families, and if you're interested in their stories, please click and go visit them. The one below is a special case. The family is in the midst of bringing their child home, and unexpected financial problems have stalled the process. Click on the link and read their story. If nothing else, please add them to your prayers.

Please click on the Donate button on Dasha's blog to help!
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

'Tis The Season.........

To Neglect Your Blog, FA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA!

Or maybe that's only if you're me!

I've very much enjoyed having a blog. I just always get overwhelmed this time of year. Plus I got a Facebook account. Very Addicting! To catch up:

We've had 2 "Winter Concerts", 1 snow day, and 1 cancelled "Winter Concert" due to inclement weather. (They used to be Christmas Concerts but the names apparently had to be changed. Christmas music is still played or sung however.) The tree is up, most of the presents are purchased, and most of the cards have gone out (the rest will go tomorrow, that is my goal). We had Jack's 2 year-old pic taken, and a family one as well. I still have to finish cleaning so I can get the rest of the decorations up and wrap! The kids are now home for break and I am so happy!

Jack re-cap:
He's starting to use some signs. Some are coming easier than others, and some are "modified" by Jack. Whatever, I'm thrilled he's doing it! He's starting to run, and it's hilarious! His balance still isn't the best, but when he tries to run, his little feet go a hundred miles an hour, but only move a couple of inches at a time! So he's taking these tiny little steps but very quickly. If I can get it on video I'll post it. He also still loves hats and now is putting on his little Santa hat when he gets ahold of it. So cute! And I'm really hoping not to jinx us, but still no fever or signs of illness! Yay! He has a tiny bit of snotty nose, but it's not runny and we all seem to be having nose issues - I think because it's so dry in the house with the weather being so cold.

Jack has also been playing the piano a lot lately, especially when M sits down to play. Notice he found he can stand in his little chair to get to the keys! Our PT says this could be a great activity to get him standing on tip-toes or going up and down a small step, like the phone book, to get to the keys. It seems to be working great! (Sorry about the incredibly messy house - I'm working on it, I promise!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Okay, here we are, on fever day during fever week, and NO fever! I'm cautiously optimistic. He hasn't coughed in several days. He still has a liitle bit of runny nose but it's all clear and just a little bit. I noticed the other day that Jack is growing in the 2nd of 2 teeth that started coming in a few weeks ago. Hmmmmm. Doctors tell you that one has nothing to do with the other but I've never been convinced that was true. Out of 4 kids, ALL of them have occasionally run a fever for no apparent reason except there happens to be a tooth coming in. So, IDK. But we managed both therapies today on time for the 1st time in 4 weeks.

Jackson got the shots he was missing so now we're all caught up there, and I made the appointment to get his 2yr old pics taken. I went ahead and made the appointment for all of us to have a family pic taken too in case I can talk my family into it. I have about 1/2 of our Christmas cards out and the rest will be ready soon. 2 of the 3 older kids have had their Christmas programs at school and did very well on their violins. About 1/2 of the Christmas decorations are up. I have 95% of the Christmas shopping done. Do you see where this is headed? I'm feeling pretty good for this time of the year! We'll see what happens in the next 2 weeks though!

I have a couple of Jackson stories from the past week. He is not only not scared of the vaccum, he seems to like it! Every time I try to run it, he is totally in the way. A few days ago I decided to try to get a photo of Jack not letting me vaccum and this is what I got:

He's such a hoot! This happened in every room but I wasn't as good with the camera as I should've been. He would actually lie down in front of the vaccum. That last pic is just 'cause he's so cute!

And the last one is for Grandma. She's gonna love seeing Jack with a hammer!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Doing Good!

Jack is doing good this week! 'Course this isn't his fever week so nothing I didn't expect. Still has the yucky nose and cough once in a great while. He's happy and eating and sleeping normally so we'll just deal I guess.

I've been thinking about how in love with that little man I am. I know I was head-over-heels for my other wee ones too, but I'm nuts for Jack. Is it because he's still little? Or an unexpected blessing? Is it more intense because there's extra protectiveness because of his ds? I don't know. It's not the "he can do no wrong" kind of obsessed - he certainly has his moments. I just can't seem to get enough of him. I love to watch him explore and examine, and listen to him "talk" to things he's looking at. I love to kiss him, even his little cute toes. When we go out shopping or to run errands somewhere, I'm so proud of him. I've never seen anyone look at him with less than a "oh what a cute baby" look, or maybe I just don't see any other. How blessed I am!

Thinking of Jack's moments, this is a new one. He loves the dog's water. That's not new. He sticks his fingers in it; he puts toys in it; he dumps it on the floor so he can play in it. Drives me nuts! So I (we) try to pick it up when he's up and playing, and keep an eye on it when we put in down for the poor thirsty doggy. Sometimes we forget. This morning, I forgot. So I'm in the other room, signing on to the computer and I hear him splashing in the dog water. I jump up and run to the kitchen saying "Jackson, you know you aren't supposed to play in the dog's water!" and I pick up the bowl and put it on the counter. By the time I turn around he's picked up and is handing me the dog's food bowl, giant grin on his face! So he doesn't have any words yet, no signs except "milk", but he KNOWS. This has happened a couple of times recently, all evidence he understands, even though he isn't talking. I LOVE that! I love that he's getting things, and growing, and is such a little stinker!

Have I mentioned how much he loves hats? He's a bit obsessed. He has several of his own, but any hat where he can get it is good. So our pic today is of Jack wearing Ty's knit hat. He put it on all by himself! What a hoot!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Every 2 Weeks.....

Jack gets sick every 2 weeks. Or, it's the same cold and just flares up again but it's every 2 weeks, on a Tues. It happens to be the same Tues that his OT and ST are scheduled on. So we've missed a few. Today he woke up with a fever again so we missed OT and I left a messsage for ST. She didn't get it and showed up anyway but it worked out because he had some ibuprofen about a 1/2 and hour earlier and was actually feeling better. We'll see what happens when the medicine wears off!

Thanksgiving is in 2 days! My parents are coming to visit so that'll be fun. Then getting ready for Christmas will begin in earnest! One of my favorite times of the year - decorating, buying presents, Christmas music - love it! I've ordered my Christmas cards and have started trying to figure out where to put the tree this year (we re-arranged the living room). I'm thinking Jack will really enjoy Christmas this year, the lights and cookies and all. Hope my hubby can get the lights on the house this weekend!

I'm having fun putting pics on every time so here's a pic from last year (getting ready to put up the lights):

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm behind!

So to catch up on us:
Jack is MUCH better! I'm still turning on the humidifier in his room every night and his poor little nose is a bit stuffy and he coughs every once in a great while, but I think he's in pretty good shape.

Andrew had the awards night for fall sports at school. He got a football patch for the letterman's jacket that he still wants. I should have planned to get it by now but it wasn't at the top of his list and they're very expensive so it'll be awhile. He could use it now too - it's 24 degrees outside right now. So he has the football and his graduation year numbers - got those last year. It's such an amazing feeling to see your child up on a stage, shaking someone's hand as they get recognized for doing something good. I'm proud of my kids pretty much all the time, but that nearly brings me to tears. He's such a neat kid. Can't wait to see how he turns out!

My friend Martina has a daughter that's about 8 mos older than Jack and she has some toys that she's outgrown. So Jack got some new toys for his birthday and then he got MORE new toys from his friend! One of them is a Little Tykes xylophone which we've never had so that's really cool. His therapists are gonna be happy about the new variety of "stuff".

Madelyn has a couple of friends interested in the book series "Twilight" by Stephanie Meyer. They told her she really has to get into it. With the movie out today, she and I have been reading like crazy so we can go see it. We both finished the first one, and she's working on the second, and we both are really enjoying them. Tomorrow we go to the movie with one of her dance friends and one of my dance mom friends! Yay! A movie, and we get to hang with our friends! Hope the movie is as good as the book!

Last Sun, I realized Tyler's birthday was coming up this Sat (tomorrow)! So we hurried up and decided what he wanted to do (he was really in no hurry to figure it out, can you believe it?), and I called his friends (well, their parents) and the party was tonight! We took the boys out for pizza and then came back here and they played video games. They stuffed themselves full of ice cream at the restaurant so we didn't even have cake but that's okay, it'll give us something fun to do tomorrow, on his real birthday! He's such a neat kid! I kept asking him "what do you want to do?" and he kept saying "play with my friends" so that's what we did. He's so easy, and doesn't complain, and just pretty much goes with the flow. I guess that's 'cause he has a big brother that he'd do anything for and a big sister that flips out over nothing and anything. He has an amazing sense of humor, he's so smart, and cute, and loves to take care of Jack. I would so fall in love with him if I were an unrelated 9 or 10 year old girl!

Tomorrow is our movie, an open house for Chistmas gift stuff at my friend Adrienne's, and more birthday fun (I saved our presents to give him). Sun we get to chill. Since I don't have any pics of tonight yet, here's a rare one of me and Jack:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sick Baby!

I know he's not really a baby but Jack is my baby. When he got up Mon, he just felt crappy. He had a fever, not real high but enough to make him feel yucky all day. He wasn't interested in food (very unlike him) and just wanted to sit and be held all day. That, I can do! So we wore jammies all day and sat in the recliner. He'd perk up a little when the Tylenol kicked in, and get on the floor, and look at his toys, then look at me like "now what do I do?". So I'd say, "do you want to get back up here with me?" and he'd put his little arms up and we'd sit again.

He slept well Mon night and then woke up a little perkier Tues. Since he really hadn't eaten I thought we'd try a little food. Turned his nose up at cereal and I didn't want to give him applesauce 'cause sometimes that causes yucky diapers when they're sick, so tried yogurt. He liked it, and then threw it up about 15 mins later. On me. So back to the recliner we went (after new jammies). Later on he ate a few cherrios and drank some juice. Last night while I was at a meeting, Daddy gave him mac & cheese. He kept it down and was actually walking around a bit last night.

So we'll see what happens today.

So all this started me thinking about what (as moms) we do that I KNOW would have freaked me out pre-children. For instance - last night I realized, when getting ready for bed, that I had a big glob of dried, chewed up cheerio on the collar of my shirt. I had been to a PTO meeting. Where I am the President. And we spoke with a man who was "interviewing" to be the Santa at our annual Breakfast with Santa event. Sigh. Here's another example: This morning I realized there were 3 cans almost half-full of soda sitting around where kids were eating dinner or doing homework or watching TV last night. I don't know whose they were or why they weren't finished. Didn't even think about it really. But as I gathered them up, I DRANK THEM. It seemed more efficient than just dumping the contents down the sink. But later on, I wondered why the heck I would do that?! Because I'm a mom who hates to see soda wasted, since we don't always have it (these were left-over from Jack's party). And of course, the biggest thing that's changed about me post-children - I no longer freak out when getting barfed on. Sad. Very sad, but true.

I do have some good news to blog about today. My dishwasher died. (Okay so it starts out bad but just wait!) So we bought a new one. And my wonderful husband installed it. And after lots of plumbing changes, IT WORKS!! We didn't buy the most expensive one (not even close!), but it looks nice and IT WORKS!!

So guess what the pics for today are?
Sick baby (awwww)

new dishwasher!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Little Smartie

I can always count of one of my kids to put me over the edge so I lose it OR bring me back with something smart, or cute, or sweet. Today Jack did something smart, and he knew it! I was sitting on the edge of my bed, folding laundry. Jack wandered in, holding his cup (he's doing great with that, BTW) and wanted to put it up on the bed. My bed is kinda high - I'll post a pic some time - so he was pushing it as high as he could and I was putting it up a little farther so it would sit upright. Then he would reach and make his little "I want" noise and I'd hand it back. We did this about 3 times and finally I started saying "you have to say mmmmmmmmmilk". Without taking his eyes off me or skipping a beat, the little stinker SIGNED "milk"! I jumped off the bed and made such a big deal out of that; he just smiled real big like he was just waiting for the right time to surprise me! He did it several times after that too.

Speaking of Jack drinking out of a cup, he's become a pro with a straw! He had a real hard time with those little bitty juice box straws at first, but now he hardly dribles at all. That doesn't mean he doesn't drool - that's a separate issue (some of us are mouth breathers), but what he drinks seems to go straight down!

I also started Christmas shopping this weekend. It's nice to get some of that out of the way. It won't be a BIG Christmas, but the kids will get a few of the things on their lists and a couple of surprises too. My phone is working and we had to get a new TV this year so I probably won't get much. Since Jack has been a part of the family, he's lost about 4 of my earrings, one from each pair of course, so maybe a new pair of earrings. If only Santa would bring me a 40 lb. weight loss - that would be my greatest gift ever!! I plan to ask my mom for some of those Brita water filters. We have a pitcher, but the filters are kind of expensive. That's one of those things it's easy to not buy when there are other things we need.

The pic for today? This is exactly 2 years ago today, at the hospital.

Such a sweet baby, and we were so heart-sick that he wasn't home. Little did I know we only had a week and a half to go!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In a Funk

This happens every year and probably will keep happening. I can't help thinking back to the weeks after Jack was born, and feeling sad that he had to stay in the NICU. It was quite a whammy because we had as many tests as we could to make sure he was healthy, and all came back fine! Every ultrasound, blood work, non-stress test, even the fetal-echo - all said he was in perfect shape. So when he had to stay in the hospital so long, and then I had to fight to get him home, eesh, it was just hard. I hate being whiney about it because I know there are lots of families who's children were and are in worse shape and we had a happy ending so get over it already; but I guess it still nakes me sad.

And I'm having a very hard time moving forward from this election. How am I ever going to be able to show the proper respect to the office of the Presidency, when I feel this is wrong. I'm so afraid for our country right now but several of my good friends are supporters of this abomination so I can't even commiserate with my friends. I think they just looked at his "lower tax" promises and fell for it.

I'm going to post a pic I love to make myself feel better. This cracks me up 'cause Jack is so mini and Andrew is such an excellent big brother (to Jack; he could be nicer to the others LOL). Thank heavens my son has had a haircut and looks much more gorgeous now!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm It!

Last week I got tagged by Heidi Marie who said I now have to reveal 6 things you may not know about me. (BTW, I LOVED your 6 things Heidi - and I LOVE pics of your boy! Please don't ever take that pool pic away - it's just precious!) Anyway, my 6 things might not be a surprise to most of my friends but here goes.

1. My dream car is a '81 Camaro. It's red. Right now, it's in my garage and some day it will be as gorgeous as it was when I first laid eyes on it.

2. Having my kids has been the greatest adventure I could ever imagine. It seems like yesterday I was in college but here I am, with a 15 yr old! And I get so much enjoyment out of my kids and their friends. They make me laugh, make me think, scare me to death, and give me hope for the future.

3. I have 2 college degrees. One in Management and one in Marketing. I was the Regional Business Manager for an Environmental Consulting Agency. I was the victim of a nasty lay-off, and have never gone back to the corporate world. I was miserable and almost glad of the lay-off. I keep thinking I will go back someday but I haven't worked up the courage.

4. I played the piano for 8 years before I went to college. My parents moved several years ago and gave me the piano I learned on. I play it mostly at Christmas. I love Christmas music!

5. I am a pack rat. I'm trying really hard to sort and get rid of stuff but it's hard. I married into a family that has no emotional attachment to "stuff" so I get a lot of grief about it.

6. I am very loyal. If you are my friend, I will stick by you, even if it means going out of town to see you or getting thrown out of a bar with you (that was fun, right Sherry?).

So, if you're reading this, you're next! I tag EVERYONE!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Already November?

I didn't make the 31 for 21. Darn it. The end of the month got too hectic for me. I'm usually a busy mom but I was overwhelmed last week. We had Halloween class parties, 2 fooball games, out-of-town guests, trick-or-treating and a big birthday party that I had to clean the house for. So, where to begin? How about last Fri?

We had Ty's school party that I was in charge of the games for. We ended up only having time for 1 but it was fun. I melted 4 different types of Halloween candy in the microwave and they had to look at it and guess what it was. It went over well. I've been doing these parties so long that I have a bunch of standard games I've done a hundred times and one of them is the limbo with a witch's broom. I realized last Thurs that I have 3 witch's brooms! How crazy is that? So the party was fun.

Then we had to get ready for the last JV football game. It was much better weather, and we won again! Yay Warriors!

At the game, the kids put on their costumes, and a couple of the moms brought candy to share! The minute we got home, out we went. I had my younger 3 and a friend for Ty and M. While out, we met up with another family and walked around with them. It was a beautiful night, not chilly at all, and we walked for HOURS. Jack even took a short nap in his stroller!

Jack looks thrilled, huh?

The next day was the big party!! We just had cake and ice cream and play time and I think it went well. We had a pirate theme, of course. (We're.........okay I'm obsessed with Pirates of the Caribbean so when I saw this Little People Pirate Ship last year I had to get it! I've been waiting a year to play with it I mean, see Jack get it!) I bought red and black plates and streamers, and a plain cake that I put some pirate candles that I found on. I didn't get a pic before it got cut but my MIL said she got a photo and will share with me - YAY! We had sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY and had cake first, then opened presents. We had a surprise guest - Miss Braska! (and her mommy) and lots of Jack's cousins came over to hang out. Jack loved his cake! He ate some of it with his spoon but mostly it was fun to use fingers or just take a bite!

So, who's toys are these?

Thanks Howie and Mary, I love it!

Yum, yum!

Here's my girly friend - so glad she came!

This week we're taking it easy. I owe more posts that I will get to tomorrow!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

31 For 21 - #28

Okay so here are a couple of pics that our friend RK took of Jack and her daughter Braska, on his birthday.

And this is my favorite!

That's the best part of Jack's birthday! Thanks for the photos RK!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

31 For 21 - #27

I'm trying to squeeze in another post before bed! Here are a couple of pics from last fall that I thought were funny. A put T up on the basketball hoop and it held him! So then of course, they had to put Jack up there too (but I didn't let A let go of him!)

The next one is from when we went to the Down Syndrome Convention in Kansas City last year. The light was really neat was I took several. That was a really great experience. If you have a loved one with ds, you should go to a convention.

I just realized I have almost half a year and not many posts left! I'll have to try to squeeze them all in over the next couple of days. Lots more pics, coming soon!

31 For 21 - #26

We've been kinda busy so I'm even more behind! The rest of Jack's birthday was spent at the VERY cold football game. We all had winter coats, and gloves, and drank hot chocolate! It was ridiculously cold. There was a rude lady that said we were crazy for having our baby out in that type of weather, but I checked him over and he had his coat buttoned up, hood on, covered in his blanket, and we were sitting on another that I pulled the end up on he and I. Every so often he would stick a little hand out but I got it all covered up again. Allan looked him over and loudly announced Jack was probably warmer than the rest of us. The good news is we won! 33-0! Best game they played yet! The last game is this Fri and then we're done 'til next year. Makes me sad. So when we got home I made Allan make funny faces so Jack would smile and this is what we got:

Cute, huh? Thanks to everyone who gave him Happy Birthday wishes! You guys are a big part of our family now and we really appreciate it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

31 For 21 - #25


We started out by sleeping late. Then we drove to the store for a bag of candy, and met Ty and his class for lunch; then they got the candy! Then Jack and I went and picked up his friend Braska and her mommy and we all went to the mall! We had some lunch and Jack and Braska played in the little kid play place. It wasn't too crowded so they got to play 'til they were tired! Jack passed out on the way home But Braska was hanging in there when we dropped them off. If only I had remembered my camera! (Maybe Braska's mom will share some of her pics with us.) Now, time for early dinner, get the big kids' homework done, and off to the JV game we go! Please pray that we don't freeze to death! Pics later!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

31 For 21 - #24

Today we went to the pumpkin patch! We met with some other families from the Down Syndrome Assoc. It was the place our family usually goes to anyway so we had a geat time. We went on the usual hayride, ate snacks, and checked out the pumpkins!

Here's our annual "at the Punkin' Patch" pic:

and here's last summer; Jack and Ty:

31 for 21 - #23

Yesterday I went shopping for the rest of the stuff for Jack's birthday. You know, plates, napkins, tablecover, stuff like that. I ordered the cake last week, I ordered some balloons yesterday, and I'll get snack stuff and ice cream when I pick up the cake. I bought his birthday presents way back last year when I found the stuff (you'll just have to wait to find out what it is!) and I already have wrapping paper to go with the "theme". Now, I just have to clean up the house (those in-laws live in better homes and gardens land and don't get our messy house), while getting ready for Halloween and all the stuff I have to do for PTO. I'm gonna be TIRED this week. Oh yeah , the party theme? PIRATES, of course!

BTW, our friend Adelynn is doing well after her heart surgery! You can check on her or any of our other friends by clicking on any of the links on the left.

Friday, October 24, 2008

31 For 21 - #22

It's starting to hit me that Jack is about to turn 2. I'm not ready! I said this last year, and the year before, all the way to the hospital. I keep thinking about his birth, and about how I felt last year at his first birthday, after finally bringing him home and then going through the open heart surgery. Until he was about 1 1/2, I cried everyday at some point because I was so glad he was our baby. I can be weepy but this baby has put me over the top! This past year we've had some milestones as well. None quite so dramatic as OHS, but important ones in their own right. Jack has teeth! He walks! When we were camping last weekend, he wanted to sit on Andrew's lap at the campfire. Then he fell asleep on Andrew's shoulder! I sooo wish I had my camera for that but of course, I left it here at home. That's a milestone because although Andrew has always loved Jack, he was a little bit afraid of this little breakable baby. Jack is finally big enough and sturdy enough for Drew to handle him. Jack drinks from a straw and holds his own spoon for breakfast. He doesn't talk but he points like a pro! He gets into EVERYTHING, has the BEST smile, and gives the most amazing hugs! When we were at a high school football game a couple of weeks ago, he stood up on my lap and gave me a big hug. I heard a lady behind me say, "awww, look at his little hands!". He brings me joy every single day.

This is how M set him up to watch TV:

And here is the little guy checking out the camper with M before our first trip of the season last year:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

31 For 21 - #21

Okay, this will be a quick one. Last night Jack was wandering around the house as usual (this is getting stressful as we never know what he's into!) and he went into his room. I think this is kinda cool so I'm hoping to move some things around so there's stuff for him to do in there and he'll like to hang out there. But last night there wasn't a lot, so he picked up his shoe and carried it out to the kitchen, where we could see him. He sat down on the floor and sure enough, tried to put on his shoe! It was so cute! Of course, by the time I got the camera all he wanted to do with it was put it into a plastic box that getting ready to go back to the camper (thanks, BTW to our OT who we blame for all this "putting in" we seem to having problems with - think trash can!) So, no pic. But it was cute.

And something I almost forgot! One of our newest friends, Miss Adelynn, is having her open heart surgery today. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she goes through this surgery and her recovery afterwards. We "met" through my aunt, and hope to get to meet them for real someday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Installment # 5 - the Surgery

At the time we came home, our wonderful heart Dr was saying at about 6 mos. is when we'll probably do the surgery to close those holes. In the meantime, we were to look for signs of heart failure and visit him at least every month. At our January appt., he said he would be talking to the surgeon about Jack. While out furniture shopping, I got the call on my cell phone, we need to schedule a date for surgery, the nurse will call you. I actually had a moment when I felt light-headed, like I might pass out. My MIL asked if I was okay and I think I said no. Everything happened so quickly after that. That was Thurs, they wanted us to come in for pre-surgery stuff the next day and have surgery Mon, I said no because we needed to make arrangements for the other kids, so we were to go in on Mon. and the surgery would be Tues! I called our pastor who got us in for Jack's baptism that Sun and we had his picture taken on Sat (no scar pics).

We got to the hosp. Tues morning and I think we were in shock. It didn't become real 'til I handed him to the anesthesiologist. Our wonderful pastor sat with us awhile that morning, but mostly, it was me and Allan. Finally, the surgeon came out and said everything went well and they would come get us to see him soon! He slept all that day. On Wed. he was still out of it, but restless. I had to stand by his bed and hold his pacifier for him or he fussed, 'til he fell asleep for 20 mins. (He never took a paci at home.) By that evening, he settled down and finally really went to sleep. Thurs., the nurse said "he's going to PICU!" which meant he was doing great! He was awake and alert and I got to carry him to his new room. He didn't get any morphine after Wed. evening and I learned you have to ask for Tylenol even if your baby has his heart cut open! So Thurs and Fri progressed, and Sat morning the surgeon came in and said "so, you want to go home?". I said yes and called Allan and he came and got us! So be warned, these pics aren't pretty but his recovery was amazing!



Saturday (right before we went home):

The following Thurs (9 days post-surgery):

Pretty good huh?
And here's one of his scar from this past summer:

So now Jackson has a very healthy heart and sometimes I'm actually glad it was bad enough for surgery because now we don't have to worry. I still think of it as a miracle. Here's another interesting and wonderful thing that happened - exactly one week after surgery, and on my birthday, Jackson gave me a wow, there you are! smile for the first time! I cried. It was amazing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

31 For 21 - #19

I am constantly surprized at people's attitudes. I spoke with a lady the other day that made a comment about how "normal" Jackson is. I was a little irked (he is who he is and I feel "normal" is who he is regardless of his progress, does that make sense?). But I realized she didn't mean any offense, and may even have been having one of those "lightbulb moments". Like I've said before, I feel very lucky that our friends and family and even other people we encounter daily are so very positive about Jack. The families that choose to terminate a viable pregnancy because they find out the baby has Down Syndrome need to spend a day at my house. They would see that Jack loves his brothers and sister like any other almost 2yr old would. They would see a toddler who has decided to throw everything he can get his hands on into the trash can, laughing when he gets caught! They would see a mischievous little boy who gets waaaaaaay too many kisses from his mommy. They would see a family, who didn't know what all they were missing until God blessed them with an angel. And then I think they would weep with what they had done, 'cause we truly are blessed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Installment #4 - The Baby Has Heart Issues

This is also the next 31 for 21 entry.

If you need a review you can read the story of Jack's birth here. They took Jack away to the nursery to get him cleaned up and let them get me into a room. All our company left and Allan and I congraduated each other on another beautiful baby. This is where the story gets tough because so much happened and there's so much to remember. I was pretty sleepy and dozing a bit, and a dr came in. Without even making sure I'm awake, he starts taking about how Jack is having pulmonary hypertension and he's going to the nicu and he's on O2, blah, blah, blah. I'm not really getting it because I was so tired, and who is this guy?, and I was told my baby didn't have any heart issues bacause our fetal echo came back perfect so what the heck is he talking about?! I was just sure this guy was crazy and if they took the baby to the nicu I'd never get to see him again and we were nursing for cryin' out loud! I'm still a little bitter about all that, can you tell?

So the next few days were just crazy. Jack never got to come to my room and some relatives came to visit and everyone had to look at him through glass, even his brothers and sister. That Sun, he had a partial blood transfusion, where they take some of his blood out 'cause it's so thick and replace it with saline so it will flow better through his system. (Pulmonary Hypertension is like high blood pressure but in your lungs.) So the poor baby is under a "cake plate" (for oxygen), hooked up to lots of monitors, has an IV, and I can't hold him. They're saying they don't know when he'll get to come home and yes, there are 2 holes in his heart causing the ph. I was upset about that, my hormones are nuts, and I have 3 other kids who I don't want to miss out on Halloween activities and trick-or-treating.

They moved him into a covered bed (hence the Jack-in-the-box photos), and we lingered like that for awhile. Jack had a hole between the 2 upper chambers of his heart (Arterial Septal Defect - ASD) and another between the 2 lower chambers (Ventriculal Septal Defect - VSD) and something called a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) which is when the blood vessel between the pumonary artery and the aorta (used during fetal development) doesn't close after birth. All 3 would need to be closed. After 2 1/2 weeks of getting the kids off to school, running to the hospital and spending as much time there as I could, pumping, coming home to get the kids home, doing homework, etc. with them, going back to the hosp. with Allan after he got home from work, getting home to make sure everyone went to bed, and doing it all the next day, I was so done and started asking even more when Jack would get to come home. I know it was only a few weeks but it still makes me cry how horrible it felt. It was a long process of getting him stabilized, then weaning him off oxygen so he could be in his little bassinet just being monitored. The biggest problem was he was using so much energy to maintain his temp and breathe without O2, that he needed to be tube fed 'cause he could not finish a bottle. We tried the breastfeeding a few times, but we had serious latching problems because of his sleepiness and of course they wanted to monitor his intake so we bottle-fed what I pumped. When we were there, we would give him a bottle for 30 mins and the rest went in through the tube. When we weren't, they just tubed him. They kept saying they wanted to make sure he could eat what they wanted him to and keep him monitored. When it became obvious that was what was keeping him there, I finally told them we were taking him home and they needed to teach us how do place the tube. Yes, it was an ugly day for the Dr but I'm sure he's gotten over it by now. So, we learned baby CPR and how to place an ng tube, and brought our baby home! We didn't tell the kids because I wasn't sure if we'd pull it off so here is M, being surprized that her baby is really home!

31 For 21 - #17

So I forgot to mention a neat thing that happened to me last Fri. I had made those Down Syndrome Awareness ribbons and was wearing one at the grocery store. Of course, Jack was with me and a nice older lady stopped and started talking about Jack, you know "oh what a cute boy! I bet he's a good boy, isn't he?, stuff like that. Well then she says "I have one just like him at home, and he's 52". Wow! So of course I asked how he's doing and she told me he went to school when he was 4 and after he graduated, he worked at the same place for 31 years! He rode the bus by himself every day. He was very healthy until about 4 years ago, when he started having seizures, and had to quit his job. She indicated he's always lived with her and her husband and he's not in great health now, but still smart and happy. So we had this nice conversation, and then I realized I had some of those ribbons in my pocket and I gave her one. She said she didn't even know it was Down Syndrome Awareness month and when I saw her leaving the store, she had pinned it to her jacket. What a nice lady! Jack even gave her the ole fist closing bye bye wave, which he doesn't do for everyone, you know!

So here are the ribbons - M is modeling hers (I caught her on the way to school this morning).