Friday, May 27, 2011

Follow Up Appointment

I pretty much hit the nail on the head when I assumed we'd drive 2 1/2 hours just to see Dr. Shell for 30 minutes and turn around and drive 2 1/2 hours back.  The only thing I was incorrect about was that we were only in Dr. Shells office for 7 minutes.  We got there early, I didn't even get to put my bag down in the waiting area before we were called back, we saw Dr. Shell in the hallway, stepped into the exam room never setting my bag down - he said everything looks fantastic to keep medicine (neosporin) gooped on there so it will loosen the "boogery" things as I call them (that is not the technical medical term obviously) and come back in the next couple weeks.  He said to place a warm cloth over his lip to losen up the boogery things too.  I didn't know I was able to get it wet.  He said in the bath tub he could get it wet.  He stressed the importance of keeping the area moist with meds to help in the scarring.

So on that note I asked if he could go to swimming lessons next Friday (make up day since Monday is a holiday) and he said he could!  Man Oh Man!  This little boy is on the mend.  Who'd a thunk that a cleft repair / scar revision never slowed him down, he'd only miss one swim lesson, he'd eat and drink normally, is sleeping flat on his face, not needing a drop of pain meds.  This is nothing short of a miracle.  Dr. Shell was even shocked at the lack of pain that Hill has experienced.  We don't have to go back until the 16th of June.  How fantastic is that?  Last surgery we were there every other day it seemed.  Then back once a week then every other week for over a month.  Way to go Hilly-poo, you show that cleft lip who is boss!

After the speedy appointment my mom, Hill and I went and ate then I got to do a little shopping without a 16 month old glued to my hip.  That was nice especially since a) I am the only female I know that hates shopping and b) I was shopping for a bathing suit which makes me 'testy' anyway.

We pulled into town just in time to meet Chip to go to the Characters for a Cure.  Right before we walked into the event the 'boogery thing' that was under Hill's nose and the dry crusty part uner his lip came off leaving his lip clean and looking awesome.  We are now able to see how things will look and lay when it heals up!  We are very very excited.  I will post pictures of his lip and the Character event as soon as I find my camera cord to download the pics.  Here is a picture of Hill with Mickey & Minnie that was taken while we were there.  He was a fan from far away but HATED the characters up close and personal.  I had to hold him and politely asked to be cropped out of the photo since I looked like a goober buffoon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No Slowing Down

There is absolutely no slowing Hill down.  He has acted like nothing has happened.  We are so very very thankful of his immediate's literally the craziest thing I've ever seen.  He eats, drinks, plays as normal and reads no less than 6,000 books a day since he has to stay at home for the next couple of weeks.

Mama Lou has been great to have here and help out.  I'm sure she is exhausted beyond comprehension chasing this little 16 month old around!  I know she's eating up every minute with him though.  I had to chuckle because the first night she was here she asked Hill if he wanted her to hold him and rock him.  He shook his head no and ran the other way.  I told her it's a different ball game now that he's walking and slowing down!

I don't have any pictures of his lip progress.  The swelling has gone down a bit and he hasn't needed the first drop of pain medicine.  His stitches are all still in place except the ones in the bottom of his lip - - he likes to lick them and play with them.  I remember freaking out after his first surgery that a couple stitches broke...this go round I didn't flip as much because I remember Dr. Shell telling me last year that there were so many internal stitches he wasn't worried about the outside ones too much.  Lord, I still hope that's the case, but the lip isn't split open or anything - it's already started healing.  This little guy is so resilient.  He's like a little starfish, just regenerating things back to normal.  Amazing.

We go tomorrow for his follow up appointment.  I don't expect anything except a 2 1/2 hour drive there just so that Dr. Shell can say he looks great only to jump in the car 30 minutes later to drive 2 1/2 hours back.  I don't mind a bit though.  My little bugga is worth it and so is Dr. Shell. 

Sorry this post isn't very eventful.  I'm just working, as is Chip, and my mom is at home with Hill playing and having "outdoor adventures in the wagon" as she calls them.  We are looking forward to the long weekend and hope to be able to swim sometime soon.  Tomorrow night they are having a Relay for Life fundraiser with Disney Characters; we hope to be home from Memphis in time for Hill to go have fun with Mickey.  I'll be sure to take pictures.

In the mean time here are a few of Hill utilizing his time off to the best of his ability.  You know his mama is a slave driver and productivity slowing down!
Cleaning up Dada's extension cord in the yard.

Vacuuming with his 'Get Well Soon' balloon.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cleft Lip Scar Revision 2011

I don't know why the title of this post makes me feel like it's a Star Wars type movie title.  Or maybe it reminds me of the most current up to date vacuum cleaner marketing release.  I guess it's the whole adding of the 2011 part?  Whatever...why does my mind stray to random things when I have things to say that you actually want to hear about?

Thursday, Chip and I loaded up at lunch time and went to go pick up Hill from daycare.  We got to his 'school' and Hill was in the rally room hanging out and playing with his friends.  As you know, Chip and I were an emotional bomb at this point so when his Ms. Trista & Ms. Judy bring us a card and gift for Hill...I lost it.  In the middle of the church daycare hallway I just bawled and watched the tears well up in his teachers eyes as she hugged me just as nervous about everything as we were.  We got to the car and opened the card that had a sweet picture of Hill and the most thoughtful words of encouragement.  They had gotten him a touch and feel book about dogs.  Do they know what my little boy loves or what?  I'm sure they get an earful everyday about everything being a 'dog.'  So after another round of tears we hit the road to Memphis!

Earlier that morning a nurse from LeBonheur East called to ask a few pre-op questions.  She said if we got to town early we could come in and meet with the anesthesiologist and get that out of the way so we weren't so rushed the next morning before surgery.  So we did!  Our hotel was literally in the parking lot of LeBonheur East and we met with the anesthesiologist at around 3:30, which was the best idea ever because she lifted the nervous weight and gave us a piece of mind about the ins and outs.  It wasn't Dr. Poorna, but this lady was from her group and we liked her too.  All was well and we got checked into the hotel at like 4:00.  Since we had time to kill we drove downtown to look at the flood waters.
I know this isn't a very good picture of the Mississippi River, but the waters were pretty high.
You could tell how far it had recessed though.
After our trip downtown we went back to Poplar Ave to eat at Houston's Restaurant.  I love their grilled chilcken salad that is tossed in like a peanut vinegarette...yum.  My stomach was in a big ol knot so I didn't want anything heavy.  We got to sit out on the patio which was nice.  Hill got to play and he ate a huge hamburger and a ton of cauliflower...I know right?  Cauliflower?  The kid loves his veggies.  I wanted him to eat heavy since he wouldn't get to eat until after surgery the next day.  Even then I didn't know what to expect on him being able to eat.  So we stuffed him full then headed back to the hotel for an early night.
Side note that was funny and I want to remember.  Right now Hill can't say flower.  He just associates flower with smelling the flower with his nose.  It could be a picture in a book of a flower he will stick the book to his nose and sniff (really he blows out to sniff). So as we are walking down the hallway at the hotel he is crouching down and walking and blowing out his nose.  I could not figure out what his deal was.  Finally it hit me!  The carpet in the hotel hallway had a floral design effect to it and he was trying to sniff all the flowers on the carpet.  He is such a nut!
No more monkey's jumping on the bed!
Hill rubbing his noggin' after jumping on the bed and hitting his head on the headboard.

The next morning, Friday, I think Chip was up at like 4am.  I could hear him stirring in the 20x20 hotel room.  I rolled out of bed at around 5:00.  We didn't need the alarm clock, the wake up call, or the two cell phone alarms to be set after all.  For those of you that know me...I'm an organzier.  So I jump in the shower, put on my make-up, gather all the bags and kid paraphenalia load up the car, go to the front desk to get Chip and I breakfast bags on the go (love Hampton Inn), and sit and watched TVwhile Hill slept through everything.  We wanted to wait until the last minute to wake him up so he didn't get hungry or thirsty.  We were literally across the parking lot from the facility so we got him up at 6:00 am dressed him in the button up shirts that our sweet friend Jennifer let us borrow, because I didn't want to have to pull tshirts over his big noggin after surgery, and were on our way!

This is at 6:15am all ready to climb on the blocks at LeBonheur Lobby.

Pre Surgery Photo

The lobby had all kinds of jungle animals on the wall.  Hill loves the monkeys and kept going ~
Oh Ohh Ahhh Ahhh (in his best monkey impression)

Here is a pictures of his monkey impression at the zoo last Sunday
(which I will blog about later)
 So once we were called back to the surgery area by this guy....
You may recognize him as the Six Flags Amusement Park guy!  I swear the old guy works at LeBonheur or must have been his twin brother!

We put on our hospital gown and ate mama's camera case.
Sweet yellow gown and slipper socks
While we waited for Dr. Shell to arrive we got to play with all the fun toys!

Dada and I played ball toss

Then we met a friend that wanted to play ball toss with us!
Hill is like his Mama.  He focuses all of his nervous energy towards organzing....
Move the crayons from the left tupperware into the right tupperware

then back into the left tupperware
Dr. Shell came in at 7:00 and talked to us about his plan.  He would do a little scar revision under his nose, which I didn't expect, but was ok with.  He would level out the lip as discussed and check on the tightness of the skin between his lip and gum that I showed concern about.  I pulled out three different sippy cups and asked which he should drink out of (I had been so worried about his sippy cup and keeping him hydrated for after surgery) Dr. Shell gave me in order 1-2-3 preferences.  Hill had only mentioned his baba or nana (sippy cup or food) a couple of times pre surgery.  He never threw a fit about it.  Dr. Shell wrote his initials on Hill's right cheek and placed a couple of dots to where he would be doing the incisions.

At 7:10 they took us back to the toy room to pick out a toy to play with after surgery.  I love that LeBonheur does this.  It is so neat and was a surprise to us because downtown had the toy room but we didn't know this facility did too!  We thought the bath tub fishing pole was perfect!  He loves to fish with his Dada and now he could have his own fishing pole!

Going back to surgery this time was a bit different than his first surgery.  His first surgery he was asleep in my arms and I handed him over to the nurse and he never knew he wasn't in my arms.  This time he had his fishing pole and me.  At 7:15 the nurse was ready to take him back so I handed her Hill and the fishing pole and he started crying.  I think he thought she was going to take the fishing pole away.  At least that is what I kept telling myself.  We heard him cry all the way back - which would have been 30 seconds or so, which felt like forever....then no more cries.  He was fine.  It wrenched my heart, but I was being strong. 

I think the only time I cried on surgery day was when I was praying early that morning before I'd even gotten out of bed.  Then that was it.  I switched modes and charged the day full force.  Nerves were there, but they weren't tattered by fear.  I kept busy during his surgery by pacing the lobby.  Our car was right outside the lobby door so I'd go out to the car for things I didn't need like a muffin out of the breakfast on the go bag from the hotel, or some change for a coke that I never went to get. I saw a dove with a bush branch in his mouth.  I know it wasn't an olive branch, but it still brought me a little peace.  As if God was giving me a sign that he was there.  He was in control.  Which I knew but the visual reminder was nice.

The LeBonheur East facility was small.  Almost like our local medical clinic.  The people were nice, but the patients there were of a different capacity than downtown.  The patients downtown if you recall were there for open heart surgeries, liver repairs, very evasive procedures.  The patients here at East were having teeth pulled and crowns put on. 

At 8:08 the Six Flags guy came and got us.  They were wheeling Hill into recovery so we would have to wait a minute until we could go back.  We ran into Dr. Shell.  He said everything went fantastic. Warned us about the swelling.  Took our pharmacy number to call in his pain meds....and then history repeated itself.  I threw my arms around him in the middle of the hallway.  The location was different, the day was different, but the weight lifted, the positive words coming out of his mouth, the unexpected reaction of my arms just opening up and throwing myself on him to hug him and thank him was all the same.  He smiled.  I remember thinking - does he realize what an impact he has on peoples lives?  This 45 minute procedure that was seemingly so simple for his magnificent hands to do was done before most people had even gotten out of bed to start their day.  He positively changed my sons life before most people even ate breakfast that morning. Wow.  Prayers were answered.

We had to wait what seemed like a really really really long time before they called us back into the recovery area.  Six Flags guy came and told us stories about his kids and other kids from the past in recovery.  You could tell he liked what he did, which I think just hanging out and talking to people was his job.  He was old.  He should be retired, but you could tell he was there because he wanted to be.  I was glad he was there...even though I was standing there in a room full of chairs waiting for the door to open and the nurse to come get us.

In the recovery room there was only one child in there.  During our stay there were only two children that were in and out.  Guess Friday is a slow day for the nurses?  It was quiet except the soft snore of this little guy....

9:15 am He had the arm restraints on which were probably part of his piss-tivity (I think I made that word up) as he came out of anesthesia.  The morphine was making his nose itch and he couldn't itch it.  Here was my 16 month old active baby, not my can't roll over yet 3 1/2 month old like last time.  He was ill, he was flailing and trying to rub his face on his arm braces, which he was successful a couple of times.  I'm trying to pin his arms down and hold him in my lap, Chip has no idea what to do and I'm not a good communicator when I don't know what to do myself.  The nurse, Cynthia, was there, but seriously, how do you calm him down?  He was in the in between stage of out of it and consciousness.  I don't ever want him to go back to that place again.  It is not a happy place for anyone involved.  Once we took the braces / restraints off he was still irritable but managable.  He could hold onto his sippy cup (which he never let go of until we got back to Kosciusko) I think the security of that cup made him feel better?  He was able to drunkardly drink his gatorade.  His lip was swollen but numb.  He couldn't feel the lid of the sippy cup rub on his stitches as he carelessly pulled his drink closer to his little mouth.  Dada ran across the parking lot to the hotel to rob the banana basket at the breakfast bar.  Hill gobbled down a banana and was finally consolable. His mommy gets irritable when she's hungry too.  It's bad news bears so I does his Dada. 

9:45 Due to being in the state of limbo and him fighting his way into consciousness Hill's incisions bled.  I asked the nurse if she could clean them up before we left.  She did...which made them bleed even more.  The other nurse came by to let us know not to clean up his face.  The blood needs to clot itself and dry up so it will heal better and prevent bad scars.  Learn something new everyday...right?  So, now I am scared to death to clean his face up thinking it will scar him.  I'm also 'THAT' mom that goes to the nurses station every 2 seconds thinking that after his exorcisim episode earlier had caused a few stitches to bust.  They said they didn't see it busted, it must have been the swelling from the 'epi' (yeah, look it up I don't know what it is either) making it look that way, but the stitches were there....for now.

10:00am we are on our way home....
Still drunk

See, he still is holding onto his sippy cup.  Never let it go until Kosciusko.
We got home around 1:00 and between the hours of 9:30 and 2:00 my son had eaten 3 bananas, french fries, cheese nips, fruit by the foot, and a nutrigrain bar.  We got home and he stumbled around the house with his toys, wanted to swing on the patio swing, we read 7 books, watched cartoons and he would not go to sleep.  He did relax in the chair with me during cartoon time, but never slept.  He didn't need pain meds but I was needing him to slow down before he hurt himself.  So, I gave him some Tylenol with Codine from Dr. Shell hoping to chill him out.  Good gracious...we did it all over again, played with toys, read 7 more books, pulled all the pots and pans out of the cabinets.  This was like opposite day!   I needed a nap!  By trial and error we learned that codine and Hill are not friends.  Chip said codine has the same effect on wires him.

Let's rewind.... a year and one month nearly to the day we brought home our tiny little 4 month old cleft repaired baby.  We were to give him pain meds as needed...which in a brand new parents eyes was every 3 hours when he cried because he must hurt!  Gee whiz, I'd cry 24-7 of pain if I'd have undergone a rearranging of my face surgery. So, after like 2 weeks (yes, I'm being serious) of not knowing that my poor baby was crying because the Tylenol with codine was making his tummy hurt not because his reconstructed lip muscles and lip was hurting...I found out I was only to give him the codine like for a couple of days. 

So, now in my eyes, not only have I been the one making my baby cry because his tummy hurts but I have been OD'ing him on narcotics for 2 weeks, I was thinking I should probably send him to a methadone clinic so he didn't go into detox and get the shakes!  Live and learn....right guys?  Live and learn.

Now that you know my hesitation to giving him pain meds just to slow him down when he didn't really need them ~ only to be debunked by the fact that it makes him run around like a crazy drunk monkey.... 
My God has a sense of humor and I know he was cracking up as he looked down over the Hawkins House yesterday.

Finally after bathtime and reading the 6 million and 27th book of the day he wanted to put his bear in the crib and then when his Dada asked if he wanted to go in the crib with the bear he lifted his arms up, snuggled into his pillow and was ready for bed. 

We were instructed to have him sleep with the arm braces on.  That wasn't going to happen.  Have you met my child?  So, Chip and I ran to turn on the video monitor to see how long it took him to crash (or bleed out).  He's a restless fella and has to situate and rearrange everything before he can go to bed.  He has his regular pillow, his bear, his pillow pet, his tiny pillow and his blanket in his crib every night.  His routine is to gather everything and pile it on top of this regular pillow, climb on top of the mountain and go to bed.  I can't make this stuff up.  That's what he does. 
Chip and I watched like we were getting ready to watch a boxing match.  We knew his lip would take a few blows and that he would throw himself face first into his mountain masterpiece and rub his face.  So we stood there over the monitor like goons.  Hill would get situated and we'd both say, "Ok good, buddy...don't move" -then he'd move. We'd let out an "ouch, oh buddy watch your mouth!" - then he'd get resituated and we'd relax.  Finally he went into a peaceful slumber.  I went to make sure all the stitches were good and he wasn't bleeding everywhere and to my surprise everything was good to go and no blood on anything. 

Whew. For the first time all day I looked down at my jeans and black t-shirt and felt like I had been wearing the same clothes for 3 days.  It had only been 14 hours.  That was hard to realize.  What a day.  What a good day, a life changing day in more than one way, and a happy ending. 
This morning, Saturday, Hill woke up at his usual 6:30am schedule.  He was a new man.  Woke up saying "Dada, dada, dada," repeatedly.  I woke up to get him and he was such a little chatter box that had so much to jib jab about this morning.  He was like the Energizer bunny.  We changed his diaper, got dressed, got his milk, ate a banana, read a book then he wanted to go outside (this was all before 7:00.) 

So we went outside and pretend to ride on the lawn mower....

Then did some chores around the house like feed the dogs.....

And worked in the yard....

Just a normal day at the Hawkins...with our cute little boy.

It is not as bad as it looks.  Seriously.
I'm just scared to clean it up!
What I forgot to mention was that Dr. Shell went in under the nose and did a little scar revision and stitched it up.  Then went inside the lip over the lip and on top of the lip leveling it all out and then putting in stitches.  Even though it looks like one big connected bloody funk of a cut between his nose and lip...he really only has like one stitch under his nose and a couple above his lip.  It's not a continuous cut from the lip to the nose.  Anyone want to come over and clean it up so he doesn't look like he just had a nose bleed?  For love of God, after I busted his stitches in the strolller accident last time and made a gapping hole.  I will not do anything but apply neosporin with a Q-tip.  He has licked one of the the inside bottom part of his stitches apart and likes to play with it with his tongue.  It's ok, there are sutures inside holding it together so I'm not worried.  Yet, if I start trying to clean and tug at a stitch and it comes apart...I will die.  I will melt into a little puddle of my own tears.  I can't touch it - - atleast until I know he's not sore.

We know how blessed we are, we have a very healthy resiliant son to hold and hug every day.  Please know your prayers were felt and appreciated more than words can explain.  We know God has been with us through our whole journey.  His presence was shown multiple times throughout the last couple of days (I will elaborate more on that later.)  Thanks be to Him!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Elusive - Pre Surgery Emotion...

I've been a bit elusive this past week.  Do you ever feel like you are a hamster in a wheel just going and going and not making much progress?  That's what I feel like.  I've been super busy but at the same time have no idea what I've been so busy with.  I guess I'm just a bit mentally overwhelemed.  I think maybe I've been suppressing my anxiety about Hill's surgery and my energy has been focused in about 13,000 other directions that I've just 'spent' myself.  I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, I'm not one to sugar coat though, I just simply feel the need to document my feelings for other cleft moms that read my blog.  Anxiety can almost be like a greiving process.  Everyone handles it differently.  This is for sure a different wave if emotion compared to his first go round.  How can I explain it?  The first surgery can be summed up as spastic.  I was a mess.  Chip was an emotional basket case.  Not to belittle this go round because we are both a nervous wreck, but not so much spastic.  Maybe numb is the word?  I don't mean numb as in a dark nonchilant or oblivious to the situation type of way, but numb as in foggy...unable to process exactly how I feel.

Tomorrow is the big day.  Surgery numero 2.  Hopefully the finale.  I know I will have an all new chain of emotions to follow post surgery.  Pray for us.

What's the plan?  We leave today to head to Memphis and spend the night so that we can arrive at 6:00 am at LeBohneur East for Hill to get checked in.  His surgery is at 7:15 and Dr. Shell says we will be on our way home around lunch.  Everytime I say that, "we will be on our way home around lunch" it just amazes me.  This is an out patient surgery.  A simple little lip repair where they will even out the pink parts of his lips and level everything out.  That's it, so simple and so life changing.  Recovery time is 2 weeks. Mama Lou is coming in on Sunday to help take care of him next week and then Chip and Mrs. Cornelia will alternate the following week.  Of course we will have follow up appointments and I will let you all know when those are.  I know he will miss all of his little school friends and teachers up at First Baptist the two weeks he's out. Maybe once he's feeling good we can take him to see his friends.

Ok team.  I'm off.  We are leaving for Memphis now.  I will update as soon as I can.  Pray, Pray, Pray...I know you all are and I am thanking you in advance for them. 

In the mean time I leave you with a picture from last week of Hill resting on the sidewalk before swimming lessons.  He's such a fashion guru with his lime green crocs and swim diaper.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

My friend asked me if Chip was able to top last years Mother's Day.  For those of you that don't remember, he (and Hill) bought me my Toyota Sequoia for my first Mother's Day.  Although things weren't as extravagant this year I can honestly say that I had the most wonderful day.  My gift was so thoughtful.  He had someone come out to the house and help us get ideas for our yard.  How creative is he?  I can't wait to see what the lady comes up with.

More so than gifts, I enjoyed spending the day with my boys.  I love them so much and am so blessed.  Hill and I went to church  but left after Hill thought it would be a good idea to take off his shoe and chunk it at the man sitting in front of us.  Thank goodness (I guess) that the whole congregation was standing up and so the shoe hit him square in the middle of the back instead of his head!  Once we got home Chip took us to Lake Tiak-O-Khata for lunch. It was fabulous, as always.  Nothing like good home cooked meals.  After we ate we went to the lake to feed the fish.

My boys

Dada showing Hill how to feed the fish

Hill throwing the bread to the fish

Me and My Buddy
Happy Mother's Day to me!
 After we got home and took a nap we met, Nana & Papa (Chip's dad and step mom), Meryl, Shane and Shane Preston for a picnic and fishing out at the Country Club. 
All the necessities for a picnic and fishing

 - - According to this guy - -
 These are the necessities for a picnic and fishing.

Woo, Mustard & Miller Lite.
I don't guess I can argue with that

Shane Preston at the top of the slide
Soaking wet from jumping in the lake

Hill standing by the swing watching Shane Preston

Defying Gravity.
Climbing UP the slide

Silly SP

One day I'll be big enough to climb these steps to slide
Yes, my dear boy, you will be big enough to climb the steps to the slide sooner than I care to admit.  You are growing up so fast!  Thank you for my wonderful day.  Most of all, thank God for choosing me to be your mommy! 

Ellie, The Dancing Queen

Saturday Hill and I went to the Beautiful Feet dance recital to see his friend Ellie's dance recital.  Ellie is Hill's sweet friend, she is the most thoughtful little girl I've ever met.  Her mama tells me that Ellie mentions Hill in her prayers and that Hill is one of Ellie's 'three favorite babies.'  We think that she's pretty special too and were excited to get to see her performance.  She did great and Hill loved all the music and clapping.  He danced his little jig and just watched all the girls in amazement.  It may be that my son is the only boy that takes dancing lessons in his class...he seriously loves dancing THAT much.
Here is a picture of Ellie during her performance.
Ellie is third from the left.
Between the two trees

Hill and his best friend girl after her performance.
Way to go Ellie, we are so proud of you! 

Friday, May 06, 2011

His Fathers Son

Tell me if this isn't my husbands son.....
I guess it's instinct or something manly that just happens that I'll never understand, but Hill has located the grill brush - - and it is on!  Every time we go outside we have to go to the grill and get the grill brush while we carry around our drink and play outside.  When it's time to go inside he politely goes and hangs it back on the side of the grill as if it's special.  To my boys a nasty grill brush is golden, I don't get it.

It's a Mini Chip.
I guess I just need to get Chip a daddy sized sippy cup and they will be two peas in a pod.

Silly Boys, Bless My Heart.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Swimming Lessons

Hill had his first swimming lessons on Monday, May 2nd.  JJ and I are taking Hill and Harvey to Jackson every Monday for 16 weeks.  It's far and it's only for 30 minutes, but I'm ok with that.  If Hill gets one single thing from this class whether it be the understanding of water, safety instincts or just how to kick and splash it's worth it to me.
He did fantastic and loved the water.  I didn't get any pictures because I was too busy holding him in the water....although he was a bit upset that I had to hold him and he couldn't just go do his thing and be Mr. Independent.  There are a total of 6 children in the class.  They all seemed pretty close to Hill's age.  Some a little younger and a couple a little older.  Hill weighed 500 lbs in his disposable swim diaper, then the reusable swim diaper that goes over the disposable swim diaper then his bathing suit.  We won't be doing the bating suit again....we have to drop some cargo.  He was like a little lead weight. 
He had a big ol grin on his face the whole time in the water.  He loved to be held under his arms and float by my side on his stomach while kicking his legs.  He's not a very good kicker yet, but we've been practicing in the tub...Kick, Kick, Kick!  The teacher, Ms. Amanda, had us go to the side and teach them how to get out of the pool it's "elbow, elbow, tummy, knee, knee"  I've not quite figured out how he has enough upper body strength or coordination to figure this out, but hey, we are learning, right?  Ms. Amanda had us sing songs and play on a rubber ducky mat.  We are to teach them how to put thier mouth in and blow bubbles.  She said that if they see you do it they will start mimicking you.  Hill has tried a couple times in the tub to do it, but it's not as fun as in the pool.
There is a baby slide that each of the kids got to go down.  Hill was upset that he didn't get another turn and didn't understand the concept of taking turns.  Each kid only got to go down once.

I look forward to going back next Monday.  I will be a little more prepared on what to expect.  You know when you become complacent with a routine or a place or something you do every day like your job; you expect everyone else to just know how things work.  I'm guilty of that...but so were the people at the swim school.  I had no idea what to do, where to go, even after asking and it took 10 minutes of our 30 minute swim time to figure out where to go change and how to even go through the doors to get to the pool.  So, like I said, we will be more prepared for the next lesson.   Hopefully I can get pictures of my little fish or as Hill says, "fsshhh."

Also, my friend recommended this sunscreen after reading about Hill's allergic reaction.

I read the reviews it got the best reviews and ratings, California Baby.  I'm sure it's worth it, but it sure cost a pretty penny.  $20 bucks for a 2.9oz tube.  Either we will be staying inside for the rest of Hill's life or we have to ration the sunblock so we can pay the mortgage.  I'll let you know how it works soon.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Months Count For Something -15 Months

I use to cringe when I'd ask someone how old their baby was and they'd tell me in months.  I always felt like if your baby was a year and 4 months you needed to say he was a year or a year and a half old.  If your baby is 22 months you needed to say he was almost two.  I notice though once they hit the age of two you don't hear people say say he's 25 months - you'd say, he's two.  It has to stop at some point.  I don't guess I go around saying I'm 373 months old....that's just silly.  I've always wondered what's the big deal - why is it important to say Hill is 15 months old and will be 16 months old in a week? 
I understand now why a mother does this.  Developmentally they do so many things between the age of 12 months to 24 months.  Each month or sometimes each week it is like a new phase, a new step to new things, new words, new hilarities.  The months count for something significant.  It's not really just because the mama is going through some "My baby's not a baby anymore therefore I need to declare his age in months" stage.
So since I haven't done an update on Hill's plethora of knowledge in a while here ya go...

At 15 months - Hill knows his routine and knows where places are and who people are.  You can be in his bedroom playing and say take this to Dada in the living room and he will waddle on into the other part of the house to his Dada.  You can say it's time for your bath and he will go and try to get in the tub.  You can ask him to go get a book and he goes to his bookshelf and picks out a book (or three) for us to read any time of the day.  It's really sweet when he hands you the book then reaches up for you to hold him and read it to him.  Chip says he looks like a little duck just following you around walking behind your every move.  He can't really walk and look around yet, he has to concentrate on his feet.  Therefore he's always running into people or tripping himself when he tries to look up. 

Now that the weather is nice this little boy would live outside if we let him.  He will go to the back door or garage door and try to reach for the knob and make his whiney "uh-uh-uh-uh" noise.  I'm sure it's frustrating not being able to talk and know what you want to do.  Even though he knows what the words outside and inside mean he can't say "Mother, I would like to go outside please" so he just looks at you reaching up saying "uh-uh-uh!"  Then once he gets out there he has to investigate everything from acorns to grill brushes.

He knows how to clean up his toys and put things away.  I'm going to give a big prop to daycare for that one.  Yay!

Most recently my favorite thing is our conversations.  He's a big jib jabber and makes a ton of sense to himself.  I play along.  When I ask him questions he usually nods his head yes or no with an expression like he really knows and is into what you are saying.  Here is an example of our conversation last night before bed.
Me: Did you have a good day today? 
Hill: shakes his head yes.
Me: Did you thank Jesus for such a good day? 
Hill: shakes his head yes.
Me: Are you ready for night night? 
Hill: shakes his head no.
Me: Are you going to have sweet dreams? 
Hill: shakes his head yes.
Me: Do you love your mama? 
Hill: says, Mama while shaking his head yes.
Me: Do you love your dada? 
Hill: says, Dada while shaking his head yes.
Me: Are you a lucky little boy? 
Hill: shakes his head yes.
Me: Let's go night night now. 
Hill: shakes his head no.

Not to be outdone by his awesome listening skills, his recognition and verbal skills are fairly advanced if I do say so -- because I am his mother and think he's hung the moon and invented electricity as well as all other creations that were just genius.  Here are a few words he says and recognizes:
Dog, Dada, Mama, Bye bye, Bah-bah (still calls his sippy cup his bah-bah), ball, bird (burr), bear (buuer), light (ite), duck, banana (nyah-nyah), shoes (shuussh), fish (sshhhh), hello, socks (docks), diaper (diurr), dirt (duhhrr), brush (bsshh).
He knows where his eyes, ears, hair, mouth, nose, tummy, belly button and feet are.  He is still extremely ticklish and loves bathtime.  He knows what brush your teeth and brush your hair mean.  When he's thirsty he says bah-bah.  He likes to randomly flush the toilet.  When he sees a picture of a telephone he holds his hand to his ear and says "hello."  He wants to turn all the light switches on for you.  He still eats his crib, I hope to have that fixed by the weekend.  Loves to throw things...any ball or thing that looks like a ball or something like his sippy cup, sticks, or toys - - pretty much anything mobile he can pick up gets thrown...and he usually follows his efforts with a loud grunt "like UGH!" as if he threw that toy as hard as he could.  Pure boy, I guess. 

He has probably about 11 teeth.  I can't get in there to see unless I hang him upside down and tickle him.  I tried to count and I think I counted 11 or 12. He is getting his top right 'i' tooth and it's coming in crooked.  Very crooked, ok crooked is an understatement - it's sideways.  I can't help but wonder if it has to do with it being parallel with his incomplete cleft.  Dr. Shell said he didn't think it did, usually the lip doesn't effect the teeth unless there is a palate issue, which we didn't have.  I guess at some point we will need to go see a pediatric dentist.  Guess we have to start saving now for braces.  With inflation braces will cost as much as college by the time he's of age.

Everyone in our house has a nickname:  Katie Lou is Goose. Foxy Mama is Fox.  Foster is Brown, Bubba or Buddy.  Hill is no exception.  We usually call him Buddy (which also makes Foster come too) or I call him Baby Bear.  When he's being silly or I need his attention I call him Hill Hawkins.  Not in an "I'm using your full name come here now" manner Hill Hawkins though.  We mostly call him Buddy or Hill.  When Chip and I talk about him it's usually, "Did you see My Buddy...."   When Chip and I went to Hill's Easter party at school the other day the teachers were saying that they have nicknames for everyone.  So we had them go around the room and tell us all the kids nicknames.  I'm not sure if they were humoring me, but they said Hill's was "Smart Boy."  I've actually heard Judy call him that before when I went to pick him up.  Yup, I'm braggin'...

Moods:  Hill is usually a very laid back, fly by the seat of his pants type kid.  For the past week he's been very clingy to me.  He went through a similar phase probably back in February, but nothing like this go round.  Not one person can console him but me.  It sounds sweet and heart warming that he wants his's not.  Don't get me wrong I love it that he loves me and depends on me and looks to me for nurturing, but 24-7 screaming unless he has me is a bit tiresome...for everyone.  Not to mention it really hurts his Dada's feelings.  It has made our morning routine a bit hard and after work when I want to relax for a minute impossible.  Chip researched this stage a little and found one article that said once they start walking everything in their world changes so rapidly they are overwhelmed with new things and so busy that they look to one constant norm (which would be me.)  They also said that this usually happens in children that are very emotionally sensitive who absorb their surroundings more so than other children their age.  This kid for sure has his fathers sensitivity levels and when someone is crying he always stops what he is doing to make sure they are ok, sweet little bugga.  I can always see the extra thought in his eyes as he is figuring out and taking in the details of a new situation or a new toy. They said that children with these behaviors (sensitivity & detailed) tend to be more creative intelligent adults.  Well, that is fabulous and encouraging but I hope we make it to adulthood before we all jump off a cliff.  Kidding.

These are all just theories, it could be as simple as he's cutting a new tooth or he has a headache.  I'm trying to not read too much into it, but it's really really hard having a monkey glued to my hip 24-7.  I don't want him to get in the habit of "needing" me or having someone having to hold him.  Yet if he's not ok then of course I want to be there.  Daycare said he's been really clingy and noted a difference in him too.  At home if you do something he doesn't want you to be doing it's literally the end of the world with big tears, red face and an occasional fall to the floor as if he just can't take anymore.  I wonder if I threw myself on the floor and cried how he would react.  I may try that next time because ignoring him doesn't do any good either.  I'm up for any suggestions.  I hope the terrible two's don't start before age one and a half.

This too shall pass.  I love that Hill turns to me for comfort, but I want our realtionship to be healthy and not a dependent relationship where it affects him socially.

The things he's learned and the things he's doing constantly amaze me.  Chip and I are the parents that sit up and talk about how sweet he is or how smart he is even after he's gone to bed.  One thing is for sure...we love our little boy beyond comprehension.  We are so lucky, and don't take a second for granted.  Even if he is a cling-on monkey with a bad temper it's all part of the package and I wouldn't trade him for the world.  I can't wait to watch him learn new things.  How fun is being a parent?!?  By far the most rewarding thing I've ever done!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Double Decker Weekend

We are back from an awesome weekend at the Double Decker Festival in Oxford with the Pettit's, Pope's and Warrington's.  I forgot my camera (or so I thought until I got home and looked in the side pocket of my purse) and don't have any pictures of the entire weekend except for this one from my phone which does a pretty good job of summing up everything...

Nice weekend for a stroll in the great weather, relaxing, too much fun and precious people.

I didn't run the 5K.....I feel a little like a quitter, especially since the weather was spectacular.  The Pope's got their best times yet and so did Whitney's sweet friend Meredith (who ran the 10K being 22 weeks pregnant - GO MERE! Who has the energy to do that when you are pregnant anyway?)

I will say that I had an awesome time holding up the cheerleader signs with Whit that we made.  Whitney didn't get to run either and so we camped out at mile marker 1 and I held a sign that said "Don't Stop People Are Watching!" and Whitney's said "Run Fast 4 Beer!"  Then when Jason and Gena ran by we had special signs for them.  Having run a 5K before (not like I'm an old pro or anything) I know how much the signs and people cheering you on helps.  We had so many people thank us and comment to us and ask where the beer was and laugh.  It was really rewarding.  I know that is cheesy, but I truly enjoyed it and feel like I got a lot from it being there to support those people.  After most of the 5K'ers passed we jumped in the car and went to the finish line to help cheer everyone on again.  Still holding our same signs people were appreciative of us being there to cheer and clap. It was fantastic.

I will post more about the weekend once my photographers send me their pictures.  In the mean time, tonight is Hill and Harvey's first swimming lesson.  We are traveling to Jackson since we can't find anyone to teach kiddos under the age of 3 around here.  Our little boys are around water too much to not try to educate them and familiarize them with it.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Easter Weekend

We had such a fantastic time during Easter.  Hill got to go to two egg hunts so of course we had to practice on Friday to prepare for "how to" hunt eggs.  First of all we had to discuss that the eggs weren't balls.  Hill would pick them up and say "BALL!" and chunk it on the ground (they were plastic eggs.)  He can now say egg and it sounds a little more like a Canadian 'ehh.'  He did a good job at egg hunting practice.  He knew to look around and find them, then pick them up and put them in the basket - at what speed or force they were thrown into the basket didn't matter, they were in the basket.

Friday night we went to the Passion Play at the Methodist Church.  They always do a great job and it's so neat because it's outside and the community comes together to watch it.  They offer childcare and Hill was the only kid in the nursery.  I felt like a bad mama at first because everyone had their kids out watching the play, but knew Hill wouldn't have sat still that long.  Nor would I have wanted to hold him for that long.  He was in a good mood even though he had gotten his 15 month shots earlier that day.  When I went to go pick him up from the nursery I asked how he did and they said, "he seemed miserable."  Oh great!  If it's any consolation I had a nice time.  Here are some pictures.

How appropriate...Hill's Godparents
Hart & Whitney

Pilates guard

Jesus on the cross
 Here is my beautiful Easter lilly.  It smells so wonderful in my house.  I love walking by and getting a whiff of it's fragrant smell.  I thought it was appropriate to put it next to the picture of my sweet blessing.

Speaking of my sweet blessing....
The Pettit's invited us to come to the Methodist Easter egg hunt Saturday morning.  We were ready to put our good practice sessions into action!

Tanner, Whitney, Hill ready to hunt!

All The Egg Hunters

Hill's First Egg!

Look Mama! I'z found one!

Tanner showing Hill how to do it.

'Good Hill Hunting'
(cheesy I know, I couldn't resist)

Mmmmm, candy
When he likes something he always looks at you and says "MMMM"
Easter candy was no exception

Tanner cracking me up.  He said to Hill, "Hill, do you want to share your candy with me?"

Tanner sharing Hill's candy with Hill.

Sweet boy

Look who we got to play with!
Cobb came to hunt eggs too!

Cobb, Hill & Tanner checking out the Easter loot.

Handsome Cobb

Don't you just want to EAT HIM UP?!

This little guy was on a mission!


So now that we had accomplished Egg Hunt 2011 Round 1 we were psyched about Egg Hunt 2011 Round 2 at our church, St. Matthew's Episcopal, Sunday morning.

Hill has the mantra down pat now..
Look, find, throw in the basket.
Look, find, throw in the basket.

Those little legs carry him pretty fast!

Found one!

Shane Preston was the master egg finder

Hill showing the church ladies his finds!

This one really does look like a ball!

Adorable bunny cake

Eating bunny cake with dada while holding an egg that looks like a football.
We had a little incident at church.  Hill stood in an ant bed and they bit his little tootsies and he didn't know what to do.  My heart melted that I didn't see them!  He's ok now, just has about 7 or 8 bites on his left foot.  Poor bugga.
After church we headed out to the Warrington's.
When JJ and I were probably 5 months pregnant we were at Dirt Cheap in Starkville and ran across this HUGE inflatable water slide.  We split the cost (less than $100 total) because we knew that our little boys would enjoy the outside and water even before they were born...they were Hawkins & Warrington's they didn't have a choice but to like outdoors and water.  I was so excited for us to get to use it for the first time.  We'd been waiting for this day for a while...

Sweet noggin' splashing around.

being a little dare devil

I had to capture Ellie Kate and her hilarious all day wedgie.
I know her mama won't mind my posting this....

Hill climbing up the slide
You know what they say...
"It's all fun and games until someone has an allergic reaction to sunscreen."
As if the million ant bites weren't enough trauma drama for the day; Hill had an allergic reaction to his sunscreen.  Last year he screamed when we put it on him (he was like 6 months old) I have sensitive skin and sunscreen usually makes my face burn a bit when I apply it.  I didn't think much about it then another time he got red splotches when we were out at the country club, but I didn't associate it with the sunscreen.  Then this time it was just full force swollen wattery eyes, splotchy face, it was nap time but I wouldn't let him sleep because I was afraid his throat would swell shut!  JJ, our friend, pharmacist, hero, etc gave him some Zyrtec.  Now we are on the search for sunscreen that will work for him and the sad thing is we have to learn by trial and error.  So, this may happen again. Boo!
Tanner explaining to Hart & Whit his theory on the slide

Kids playing and having a great time!
JJ, Harvey, Ellie Kate Johnson (top), Emma Grace Johnson  (bottom), Tanner

Fell asleep with his plastic shovel in hand.
What a fun exhausting weekend!