Friday, July 29, 2011

Before I Forget

In the spirit of using this blog as an electronic journal, I want to jot down these recent happenings before I forget the details of daily life at this age:

::  Barrett eats pitted black olives by poking his finger through the hole, wiggling his fingers around with an olive on each one, and then eating them one at a time.  I don't know how he learned to do this, but I think it is so funny.


::  When I put on Barrett's socks, he says "bye toes!"

::  Barrett has mastered counting to ten and now we're working on the alphabet.  His favorite letter is B, of course, but he also likes A and R (do you detect a theme??  Thanks for the name puzzle, Aunt Kim!).  We are making progress, although sometimes, he just calls every letter "B."

::  Barrett can correctly identify eyes, ears, nose, mouth, head, hair, arms, feet, and toes.  He's also pretty good and basic colors: red, blue, green and yellow.

::  He is really into bunnies right now.  His favorite book is "Bedtime Bunnies" (a library book; I hope he is not so attached to it by the time all the renewals run out!), he loves his bunny slippers and snacking on cheddar bunnies, which are just like goldfish, but shaped like rabbits. 
That reminds me -- I should DVR Max and Ruby for him.  That's about bunnies, right?  It would give me a much-needed break from of Blue's Clues...
When were were visiting Kristopher's grandparents, Barrett had the opportunity to pet a REAL bunny up close and personal, but alternated between chasing the bunny as it hopped around the house, undoubtedly in search of shelter, and then scurrying away when it started to hop towards him.

PLEASE let me pet the bunny!?
Wait, get that away from me!!!
::  Even more than bunnies, Barrett is into TRUCKS and TRACTORS!  Love to scoot his toy trucks around, say "beep!" and "boom!" when they crash, and points out every truck we see on the road.  The highlight of Tuesday mornings is watch THREE separate trucks to come pick up garbage, recycling, and limbs.  He presses his little nose against the windows in the dining room and screams "truck!" 
Once they even honked at him, which was thrilling.  Or maybe they were honking in protest, because that was the day they picked up the four foot high pile of sheet rock, lumber, bathtub, crushed up tile, etc, from the bathroom remodel.  Hm.  We'll just say they were honking at Barrett.

::  Charlotte sat up by herself on Saturday July 23, 2011.

Sitting up, in her christening bonnet.  Look at all those pretty baby rolls!!
::  Charlotte giggles hysterically when you blow raspberries on her tummy.

::  When Barrett observes this, he runs up and lifts his t-shirt for you to also blow raspberries on HIS tummy, then he and Charlotte both giggle at each other.

::  Charlotte loves her giraffe, Sophie, and uses it like a giant pacifier.  I think she is teething.

Charlotte, with her two best friends, Barrett and Sophie
Sophie, come back!
::  She still hasn't eaten out of a spoon, although she now consents to an occasional bottle.  The pediatrician says we should hold off on spoon-feeding for a little while longer because she may lose interest in nursing once she discovers the wildly exciting world of solid foods.

::  One night when I was short on time, I tried to bathe the kids together by putting Charlotte in her bumbo in the bathtub with Barrett.  This was a bad idea (obviously, in hindsight...) because the bumbo wants to float.  Now I still bathe them together, but I put the Charlotte's baby tub in the big tub with Barrett.  Much better.  Why didn't I think of that first??  Sometimes you can't see the forest because of all the trees.

Ear Infections, and Tubes, and Adenoids, Oh My!

Well, shoot. 
When Barrett got his fourth ear infection in four months, our pediatrician suggested we throw in the towel and get tubes.  While they were in there, she recommended they remove his adenoids too. 

He looks so small in his tiny hospital gown~

We met with the ENT, who confirmed the same recommendation.  After his cardiologist signed off on any potential impact the anesthesia may have on his heart (just slows it down...a good thing for Barrett), he was all set to go.

The nice nurse gave me stickers!  Maybe this isn't going to be so bad...?
So, we went this morning at early:30 for Barrett's pre-op and paperwork, and he was out of recovery and back home before Good Morning America was over.  It is amazing how fast they get you in and out.

Sort of groggy on the ride home
He was very disoriented when he woke up, which is scary for any parent, but we held him in the special rocking chairs in the recovery room while he came around.  Most of all, his throat seemed to bother him from the breathing tube -- he had a horrible cough and didn't want to eat or drink, even though he hadn't eaten since dinner last night. 
After sleeping for a few hours this morning, he seemed more like his usual self!  He ate lunch and played for a little while, but got sleepy again very soon.  I have a feeling this will be a very low key weekend.
Cross your fingers for a quick recovery and that Barrett will finally have some relief from his chronic earaches!

"From the fullness of grace, we have received one blessing after another"

John 1:16
 
In her pretty lace bonnet and diaper cover, the morning of her christening

Baby Charlotte was baptised last weekend in the church where I grew up. 

It was a wonderful ceremony with lots of family and precious friends.  We feel lucky to have so many loving role models in Charlotte's life!
Charlotte's godparents, Jessica and Jeffrey
Charlotte wore Barrett's baptism gown, but with added lace embellishments and a handmade lace tea bonnet.
Barrett's christening
My mom found an heirloom sewing lady to add a lace collar and puffed sleeves

She also added a silk and lace ruffle to the bottom
 After the baptism, we had a family lunch reception at my parents' house, complete with BBQ, all the fixings, and christening cake.

Charlotte changed into her cream silk party dress for the reception.
You know, I hear that a wardrobe change is common among princesses, so that you can cut a rug at the reception. 
Like Kate Middleton.  I'm just saying...
kate middleton wedding reception gown

What a wonderful day!  We were surrounded by all the people we love most and that love baby Charlotte.  We feel so blessed!

Family picture
It is hard to get everyone smiling at the same time!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beating the Odds

***
Brief review of "the odds":
Chance of having Barrett's heart conditions: 1 in 2 million. 

Doctor's prediction that he could recover from heart failure, as presented at 2w old: "it doesn't look good"

Now that he is stabilized, there is a 30% chance that he will fully recover;
70% chance that he will need more medicine, heart transplant/surgery, or worse.

... But guess who beat these odds??
***

I think this is the happiest post I have ever written!
We went to the cardiologist today for a follow up visit on Barrett's SVT and cardiomyopathy. 

Not very happy about all the tests,
but the stellar results were worth it!
His echo showed that his heart's ejection fraction was 38 -- the highest and best it's ever been!  This means that his heart is pumping -- strong!  Based on these encouraging results and the lack of SVT events in the previous months.....

He is likely to recommend that Barrett be discharged from continuing care!

Do you know what that means?? 
::  No more scary heart medicines with mean side effects
::  No follow up appointment
::  No need for heart surgery when he turns 5
::  It is probably okay for him to taste chocolate, which contains caffeine.  He may even be able to have cold medicines one day in the future (cold medicines are a risk for Barrett because they usually accelerate your heart rate).

Last heart monitor!


For the most part, he will be treated as a
normal little boy

I honestly cannot describe the way it feels to type those words. 
Barrett has been through so much in his short life -- from a grim diagnosis of heart failure that the doctors thought could not be overcome, to a virtual discharge from cardiology care -- it makes my head spin.
I'll never, ever forget the way it felt sitting in the hospital conference room as the doctors told us to prepare to say goodbye to our new baby. 

I can distinctly remember the first night in the PICU, staying awake all night, hearing the sounds of the beeping monitors, the smells of baby powder and medicine, and the feeling of hugging Kristopher as we huddled together on a chair in Barrett's ICU room and cried for the little life that was too short to end.

And I can see an unconscious and intubated baby Barrett in my mind's eye, as the ventilator pumped air into his little lungs when his body was too weak to do the work for him.

I will never forget that time. 
But more importantly, I will never forget the rushing relief when his condition miraculously turned around. 

A week or so later, propped up in his hospital bed
I know that God's hand touched Barrett's heart that night, to begin the healing process, and allow us to keep our precious little boy, at least a while longer.  He was out of the ICU within 2w, when we thought we'd never bring him home again.  Talk about beating the odds.

Barrett's journey has taught us to
never take a single second with your baby for granted. 
We only have our babies for a short while, its like they are on loan to us from God. 
Right now, we are the center of their world.  But one day, a parent's opinion will become less important, and even uncool.  They will become independent; they will grow up and move out.  They will start families of their own, that take on their primary focus.  These are good things that I want for my children.

Or, as some parents have learned, a child can tragically be taken away too soon.  Your world can change at a moment's notice, or sometimes without any warning at all.

Regardless, one thing is certain....I'm sure I'll miss these days when they are gone. 
In a way, Barrett's ordeal is a blessing to us because we now cherish moments that may otherwise feel mundane. 
Bath time...singing lullabies....reading books....running at the park....blowing bubbles....

Even though toddler tantrums can sometimes get the best of me, I quickly remember that these moments are an important part of childhood and that this too, shall pass.  I feel lucky to have that reminder so that I can consciously live in the moment with my babies.

We are over the moon that Barrett is doing so well.  It is hard to believe how completely -- and repeatedly -- our prayers were answered. 
After all he has been through, I will probably always temper my optimism with a healthy dose of caution.  But right now, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and
it feels so good.
I love you Barrett. 
Thank you for teaching us so many valuable lessons. 
Praise God.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Whole New World

Baby Charlotte tried out the exersaucer for the first time.  At first, she was overwhelmed.  After all, that is a lot to take into her little world.  But now that she's learned how to push the buttons and work all the gadgets, she loves it!

Come to think of it -- imagine if they had an exersaucer for grown-ups, where you were surrounded by a bunch of things you loved that held your interest.
What would yours look like??
Mine would be pearl encrusted and monogrammed, have a view of the beach, stationed around a bubble bath, and surrounded with white peonies, delicious (yet, mysteriously calorie-free) cookies with icing, a good book, and a glass of wine with Sinatra music wafting quietly in the background.  Ahhh.
Someone should really look into making one of those...
If the baby version sounds as good to her as the grown up version sounds to me, no wonder she likes it so much!

The Best Deal Ever

Do you know what a few naptime hours spent with your monogramming machine can get you??
New custom handmade outfits for your children!!!  Yay!!!

Plaid shorts with appliqued initials in matching fabric.
Seersucker version of the same outfit coming soon!

Bonus: This outfit also works without the matching shorts when you add daddy's cowboy boots and a hat.  Yee-haw!

Summery seersucker dress for baby Charlotte!

future pajamas
No, I didn't make any of these clothes myself (although, if you know me at all, I'm sure you already KNEW that). 
But, my neighbor Jenny did!!  We decided to trade my monogramming for her sewing. 
Here's the thing though: she is brilliantly talented at sewing and I'm a medicore monogrammer at best.  Even though my machine is programmed so that I only have to type in the letters and hit "go" ... (hey, it can be hard to keep the fabric straight once the machine starts making all the jerky stitches!  And who knew it was so hard to load a bobbin, whatever that is...) 
Anyway, I'm just hoping that she doesn't wise up and realize that I'm getting the good end of the stick in this arrangement.  You can see all of Jenny's sewing lovlies at her blog, http://seaminglysmitten.blogspot.com/
Here's what you do to get The Best Deal Ever:
1.  Find a good friend that is a sewing genuis
2.  Convince her that she should gamble letting you monogram her things, even though there is at least a 25% chance that your machine could inexplicably eat up the fabric because you don't really know how to operate it very well.
3.  Start bartering!
So far, I've done a few applique shirts with names for her sweet kiddos:


And a few shirts for Barrett too~~
And dresses for her precious little girl!



I'm having so much fun watching Jenny masterfully whip up these outfits and dresses that I'm even thinking about learning to sew.  Of course, then I'd actually have to learn what a bobbin does...


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

How to Make Banana Pudding

First you pour the pudding mix into the bowl.  You may want to stir it around, just for fun.

Taste the pudding mix, to see what its like...
 
Then, stir in the milk.

 You might want to taste that too, just to be thorough...
Next, ask your mom to cut up bananas.  You definitely want to eat some banana slices, because everyone knows bananas are delicious. 


















Start layering the pudding, cool whip, Nilla wafers, and bananas.  This is a great chance to dip your hands in the bowl to scoop out pudding and cool whip to eat with your banana slices.


















Add strawberries and blueberries to make stars and stripes. 
Happy Fourth of July!