Tuesday, April 29, 2008

20,000!

Yesterday we reached 20,000 hits since adding the Site Meter counter. Now I know for some superstar bloggers, 20,000 hits is a day in the life, but for me, I am thinking it is pretty cool!

Who would have thought that this rambling post written from my hospital bed last year would turn into this blog? A blog so thought provoking that it has been changing lives all over the world?

I kid, I kid. But, seriously, when I wrote that first post I had no idea if anyone would ever read it; we were just trying to cut down on all the phone calls to our hospital room! Apparently people were interested enough to keep reading, because here we are, 156 posts later.

We can’t have a 20,000th hit celebration without pictures! But since I have not taken any pictures recently, I thought I would share a few of my favorites that have been posted on the blog over the past year.


Now these aren't necessarily the BEST pictures, but they all represent something special.
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This was Kyle's first picture. One I am ashamed to admit that I would not post when Kyle was first born. The poor guy looked so pitiful and hopeless. Seeing Kyle like this, it was easy to understand why the doctors did not think he would make it. (Look at Kyle's arms, they are thinner than the nurse's finger)


But, seeing the above picture of Kyle taken in February 2007, and comparing it to this picture of Kyle that was taken in February 2008, makes me realize what a strong, amazing little fighter he is...

Madison wanted so much to be a big sister. Obviously under the circumstances, Madison could not partake in big sister activities in the typical fashion. But she did not let that stop her. Here she is reading to her little brother. And although Kyle weighed less than two pounds at the time, she would read to him with as much warmth and animation as if he was a pre-schooler hanging onto her every word.


When Kyle was almost three months old, he was finally deemed stable enough for Madison to hold him...

This picture was taken with Dr. Lugo shortly before Kyle was discharged from the hospital...

And this picture was taken with Dr. Lugo when we came back to visit...

And of course, I must include a picture of Rylee and Breanne, without whom my four month stay in Florida would have been so lonely...

Hitting 20,000 visits got me to thinking. Who is reading this blog???
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I totally respect your right to remain anonymous, but, I’m always curious who’s reading.
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If you've been looking for an excuse to make a comment, or introduce yourself, or tell me that you loathe me, consider yourself formally invited to speak up. Introduce yourself!
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I puffy heart you all. Lurkers delurk... that means you Michelle, Julie, Leanne and whomever else might read this blog but rarely ever comments. So leave me a comment (or I might have to post embarrassing pictures of you drinking "milk!").
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And, do we have ANY family that still reads this blog? Dear, sweet Great Aunt Sandra, whom I have never even had the pleasure of meeting, comments on almost every post. Are there any other family members that still pop in every once in awhile?
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Thanks for a happy 20,000! Lurkers? Delurk!
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God Bless,
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Jennifer, Joe, Madison and Kyle

Monday, April 28, 2008

GNO

This weekend, Madison and I enjoyed a girls night out with a couple of our nearest and dearest friends. Leanne is a great friend and neighbor, who also happens to be Kyle's Godmother. Her daughter Reese goes to school with Madison.

We got manicures....



And pedicures....


I went with a sassy red, while Madison opted for maroon and gold since they are her school colors....


Afterwards, we went to TGI Fridays for dinner. While there, being the mature Mommy that I am, I discreetly told the waiter that it was Madison and Reese's birthday. They were a little confused and embarrassed when the Friday's staff came to sing them Happy Birthday...


Thankfully, the girls sat there in stunned silence and did not rat me out! All was forgiven though, when they realized their embarrassing song came with "birthday" ice cream...


Afterwards we made prank calls and tee-peed a cute boys house. No. Not really. We ended the evening by seeing the movie Baby Mama. Which by the way, is a decent movie, but something I would recommend waiting to see on DVD.

All and all, we had a great girls night out!

Much Love,

Jennifer

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Progress...


I have been a bad, bad blogger. Spring is in the air and for the first time in months we are able to play outside. I have been out with the kiddos every day. Granted, most of our time "out" is spent watching Madison's soccer games or softball. But, we can spend time outside none the less.

We met with Kyle's Developmental Specialists last Friday. We have been meeting with them every other week since the fall. Each session, they ask what new things Kyle is up to. For months, all I had to offer was, "Oh, he got a new toy. Does that count?" or "New, look at this adorable NEW outfit he is wearing!" I always got the feeling that was not the response they were looking for.

Well, this past session, I had lots of new things to share. Just since our last meeting, Kyle began rolling over, crawling, clapping his hands and waving hi and bye. Yep, that's my boy! It felt so good to finally have something to share and they were quite pleased with his progress as well.

Oh, and Kyle learned all of the above while cutting four new teeth. He cut two teeth on the bottom in December, but since then, NOTHING. My overactive imagination actually began to think well, when he was born his heart, lungs, eyes, nerves, skin, even his ear lobes, weren't yet developed. Maybe he was born so early somehow his top teeth never had a chance to form. Silly Mommy! I think the Lord is trying to teach me some patience, as that is definitely not a virtue I was blessed with.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ages and Stages


What word starts with the letter F and ends with UCK? The answer would of course be a FIRE TRUCK. No, this is not my idea of a good joke. It was however a joke that was written on a class mural by one of my fourth grade students during Sunday School recently. A class mural about “Daniel in the Lion Den” that each teacher was supposed to proudly display in her classroom when the kiddos finished it.

About 6 weeks ago, I switched Sunday School classes, leaving my beloved Second Graders (whom I had been teaching since they were 4 years old) and instead began teaching Fourth Graders. The class is mostly made up of boys and they are wild. On my way to teach my first class I was so excited and I prayed that the days’ lesson would reach the heart, lives, attitudes and actions, of my students. On my way to class the following weeks, I simply prayed to get through class without crying. I was out of my league.

Then my dear little Kyle came in and saved the day. You see, he is going through an awful case of separation anxiety. I would leave him in the nursery while I taught. Kyle was distraught without me, and three weeks in a row I ended up being paged to the nursery to come get him. The second he laid eyes on me, he would stop crying. Meanwhile, while I was getting Kyle, the rowdy fourth grade boys started a fire in the rest room one week, and another time they broke into the communion wine. No. Not really. Just trying to add a little excitement to my posting. But, it was obvious it was not going to work with Kyle’s newfound separation anxiety issues. So, this past week I was moved from the fourth grade classroom and I now get to serve in the nursery where my sweet baby boy is. I love it.

At eight years old, my daughter on the other hand is completely over any separation issues she may have once had.

She does not have school today. Typically this would be the ideal time to get some quality one- on-one time in with her. When I offered to take the day off work so that we could hang out or go shopping, she politely declined. I was shocked. I mean come on, I’m a hip, cool mom. Or at least I thought. Madison is now at the age where she’s rather hang out with her friends.

She may not want to hang out with me now during the day, but at night she sneaks into my bed to cuddle. Such an in between stage. I hold onto every single moment I can ... she's growing so fast.

When you’re a mom you’re supposed to give kids "roots and wings" but secretly I think we always hope our kids will never stop wanting and needing us. So for now, I am going to revel in Kyle’s separation anxiety…and try harder to figure out how to be the hip, cool mom to Madison.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

On the move...

Kyle officially started crawling last week! He is so curious and into everything. I love this stage...I think babies look so adorable crawling and Kyle is no exception.

video

With this new skill, Kyle has turned into Mr. Independent. He is constantly crawling out of rooms to go exploring. Needless to say, we've had to baby proof the house. One of the funny things we've caught Kyle doing is crawling into Madison's room to look at the chandelier hanging from her ceiling. If you recall last month when we took the kids to Florida, while Kyle liked Disney enough, it could not compete with the huge chandelier in the hotel lobby. This kid is easy to please.

Much Love,

Jennifer, Joe, Madison and Kyle

Monday, April 14, 2008

My very first MEME!!!

What is a MEME anyways? I really have no idea, but it seems to be all the rage in the blogging world.

The amazingly witty and clever McMommy over at The McMommy Chronicles gave me a tag requesting a blog on "Five Classes I Wish They Would’ve Taught in School".

I mentioned this to the hubby, and Joe says, “That should be easy for you. Cooking, cleaning, laundry…” I don’t think he understood the concept that it should be things that would actually come in handy for me someday.

So, without further adieu, Five Classes I Wish They Would’ve Taught in School:

Driving in Driveways

When I was sixteen, and eager to drive any chance I got, I volunteered to back my father’s car out of the garage so that he could get to the lawn mower. I jump in the car, put it in reverse and proceeded to rip the mirror off of the passenger side door as my father looked on with horror. Even worse, it was a company car and only insured if my dad was driving. The poor guy had to go to the office the next morning and claim that he was the dingbat that tore the mirror off of his car while backing out of the garage. Since that time, my luck in driveways has not improved. Just last week after dropping Kyle off at the sitter’s house, I jump in my car, put it in reverse and SMASHED into the sitter’s car.

Pros and Cons of the Family Bed

When Madison was born, she ate every two hours around the clock. I was exhausted. It seemed so much easier to let her slumber by my side, breastfeed her during the night and then fall back into a welcome sleep. When she was six months old and no longer feeding during the night, we decided it was time to move her to the crib. No problem…for her. I on the other hand missed having her in our bed. I missed her so much I even slept on the floor next to her crib just to be near her. After a couple nights of that I moved her back into bed with us. Big mistake! Fast forward eight years, she is not able to sleep by herself. Although she sleeps in her own room, Joe or I have to stay with her until she falls asleep. And, undoubtedly, every night she eventually migrates to our room sometime during the night. She’s much to big to be sleeping in our bed, so the poor thing keeps a sleeping bag on the floor next to my bed and wakes up in it most mornings. I have terrible visions of her heading off to college, on the condition that Mommy will take the top bunk in her dorm room.

How To Carry A Tune

I am the worst singer. And it really is a shame because I love to sing. But I am just so bad at it. Even Kyle tends to grimace when I sing him a bed time lullaby.

Wine Tasting 201

I ingeniously signed up for Wine Tasting 101 in college. That's right. At good ‘ol Kent State you could actually get college credit for drinking alcohol. And it was great. I would have loved a follow-up course.

Bigger is NOT Always Better

Particularly when it comes to my hair in the late eighties, early nineties. What was I thinking??? I would spend two hours a day, teasing, curling and spraying. All for this…..





I'm especially proud of this look. Can't decide if you should part with your big hair for one night and wear it up to a dance? No problem. Why not just put half of it up? Best of both worlds.


And now I'm supposed to tag five people I'd like to get to know better...I’m not sure that more than five people even read my blog, so I’m going to have to tag anyone who has posted here recently! That said, I tag: Breanne, Kristie , Hilary , Kendra and Nan. I also tag anyone who would like to share a few things about themselves. Please leave me a comment after you do the meme so I can come and read it!

The rules are simple, post your "Five Classes I Wish They Would Have Taught in School" and then tag some people. Be sure to leave them a comment at their blog so they know they've been tagged!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

If your happy and you know it....


...clap your hands!

Yep, Kyle has learned how to clap his hands! We have been showing him how to clap for some time now, and he would always just laugh at us. Something must of clicked though...I am coaching cheerleading and during last weeks game, whenever my squad finished a cheer, or a player made a basket, Kyle would clap along with the crowd. It was so adorable to watch.

Since then, when we do something for Kyle that he likes, he claps his hands. When you get excited with him, he claps his hands. When he does something he’s proud of, he claps his hands. And if you just say “yay!” to him, he claps his hands. He's quite the clapper!


Madison had her cheerleading banquet tonight which officially marks the end of the season. She did a fantastic job cheering and had loads of fun as she had a couple of good friends on her squad. While she is a bit sad to see the season come to an end, I am relieved that we can cross one of her activities off the list. Now we just have soccer, softball, gymnastics, CAST (her church youth group) and Brownies to contend with. This kid is busy.


Madison, great job. I love you and am so proud of you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rollin' with my homies...



"They were glad to hear the report and praised God." Joshua 22:33

Every time Kyle reaches a developmental milestone I applaud. I applaud not only to let him know how proud I am of his accomplishment, but because it is a sign to me that he is "normal."

Kyle had a very difficult start, spending four months in the NICU, but he was one of the lucky ones. He came home. And after many follow-up examinations, he appears to be healthy. While I rejoice at his will to live and our positive outcome, I can't help but wonder what impact his extreme prematurity will have on his future and, since modern medicine has just recently started saving tiny babies like Kyle, what unidentified concerns might lay ahead?

We were told at his birth that he had a 50-50 chance of survival. We were told that if he did survive, he has a 50% chance of having one of the following disabilities: mental retardation, cerebral palsy, blindness or deafness. And then again a couple months later when Kyle tested positive for CMV, we were told if Kyle contracted CMV while I was pregnant with him, he has a 90% chance of having some sort of long term disability such as cerebral palsy, vision or hearing problems. If CMV was contracted after birth, the risk of any long term affects decreased to just 10%.

Although I am elated and so thankful to God for how well Kyle is doing, at time's I can't help but be apprehensive about his future. And I must admit lately my fear for what may lie ahead was beginning to increase. The last developmental milestone Kyle hit was when he started sitting up in December. In December he also got his first two teeth and began giving Madison high-fives. Since then, he's certainly gotten more adorable, but nothing new on the developmental side for almost four months now.

The end of March Kyle had his quarterly evaluation with his physical therapist who promptly reported that Kyle had "vestibular issues" and "mild developmental delays." Although not completely unexpected, it was really the first time we had a negative evaluation. What this meant for Kyle long term, the therapist could not tell us. What she could do is give us some exercises to do with Kyle and see how his body would react to them. If they helped, then it is most likely just that his muscles needed strengthened, if we do not see improvements, it may be something more.

I am so happy to report that literally with-in hours of beginning his new exercises we were already seeing improvements! One of Kyle's areas of concern was the fact that at nine (adjusted) months old he was still not rolling over deliberately. He had rolled over several times, but it was usually not on purpose, more so that he was so frustrated that he would flop over. So, we began doing a series of exercises to strengthen his trunk muscles, such as these with an exercise ball:


We also have exercises we do with Kyle each time his diaper is changed, ways the therapist has showed us how to lay him down and pick him up, and even carry him that promote strength in his trunk area. And, lucky Kyle has also been receiving baby massages, which is supposed to help with his vestibular issues.

Our little guy is now rolling everywhere - hence the title of this post! He is rolling from his stomach to his back, from his back to his stomach. He can now go from a sitting position to his stomach. He can also go from his stomach to a sitting position.


Kyle has a few other new "tricks" up his sleeve, but I think I am going to save those for another post. I usually do not have much to blog about, but there is so much going on right now with our little guy!!! I'm so excited. I tell ya, this kid is amazing!
Much Love,
Jennifer, Joe, Madison and Kyle

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Kyle's 1st Haircut...

Our little mophead was long overdue for a haircut! I took him to this really cute salon, Snip-It's, that is designed just for kids. Kyle did great and didn't cry at all. He was just a little annoyed that the lady cutting his hair would not let him play with her scissors.

Before...



And After...


Doesn't he look so handsome? He is growing up so fast! Speaking of which, I have TONS of updates for you all, which I promise to post tomorrow. You won't believe what our little guy has been up to.

Much Love,
Jennifer, Joe, Madison and Kyle

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New Look...

We're getting more and more high-tech! Our new look was created and designed by Hilary, a very talented Ohio State student who designs blog layouts in her spare time. Thanks so much Hilary for the new look! Check out Hilary's blog here.

I thought, wouldn't it be cute and clever to take a picture of Kyle holding a sign that says "Thanks Hilary." Ugh...much easier said than done! Kyle was more than happy to sit and smile for some pictures, but couldn't quite grasp the concept of holding the sign, appearantly he thought mommy was giving him a new toy.


After many tries, we did manage to snap ONE picture where you could actually read the sign...


Anyways, thank you so much Hilary!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Confessions of a CF Husband

"There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." Psalm 23:18

I came across a blog recently that may melt your heart http://cfhusband.blogspot.com/ I have totally been touched, challenged and encouraged by the story of this family. The blog is maintained by Nate, a young man living in North Carolina married to a woman, Tricia, with Cystic Fibrosis. She was on the transplant list to receive a new set of lungs but then they found out they were pregnant. She had a choice - terminate the pregnancy and receive the transplant, or keep the baby at the risk of both her and the baby not making it. If she chose to continue her pregnancy, both she and the baby had a less than 50% chance of survival. As a couple of faith, abortion was not an option. During the pregnancy, Tricia's condition began to deteriorate and on January 8 they had no choice but to deliver the baby. Their daughter Gwyneth was born at 25 weeks, weighing 1 pound 6oz (just like Kyle!). Both Mom and baby Gwyneth have been at Duke ever since.

Fast forward to last night...Tricia received her double lung transplant!!! She has a long and difficult road ahead of her, starting with a test today to see how her "new" lungs are doing. Hopefully they will be able to take her off the vent in the next couple of days and Tricia will successfully breathe on her own with her new lungs.

This family is an amazing picture of Christ centered faith. Please pray for them...The NICU experience alone is very stressful, but I can not even begin to imagine doing it while your spouse is in their own state of medical distress. Please pray for this family and pass this along to anyone who you know will do the same!

I highly recommend you check out their blog at www.cfhusband.blogspot.com You will not be disappointed!

God Bless,

Jennifer, Joe, Madison and Kyle

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...