Monday, February 27, 2012

Two Sweet.

What do you do for the kid who doesn't like cake because the textures freak her out?
You create candyland.
(And have cake for her Momma!)

Thanks to everyone who dropped by to celebrate our sweet girl's crazy two years. Sorry she crashed before the party was can really take it out of pun intended.

(Note - we do have another child. She was too busy socializing to be photographed.)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It Was Only Routine.

Our week last week was crazy. Brooklyn has had some type of infection forever (or since October anyway) and has been on almost a dozen antibiotics trying to get rid of them.

We'd been counting down the days until we went to see the ENT, so we were thrilled when her awesome pediatrician got her an earlier appointment than planned. On Tuesday, we went to see the ENT. She was super nice and compassionate, and said that Brooklyn had been sick far too long, and she really wanted to do surgery the following day to minimize the risks associated with infectious bacteria just sitting in her head. (Gross, right?!). She wanted to remove and replace her ear tubes, remove her adenoid, and in the process clean out all of the bacteria dwelling in her head.

So on Wednesday, we got up at 4 am and headed to the hospital for surgery. They assured me, however, that it was very routine and there shouldn't really be any pain or complications.

For almost everyone. Baha.

Because Brooklyn doesn't have a very big vocabulary, she's learned to give us a thumbs up if she is okay. Except the sweet girl is so tough, I think she'd always give us the sign.

She went into surgery...

(And what have we learned so far? Momma would not make a cute surgeon.)

After she had been back a little bit, the surgeon called to let me know that things had gone very well but that when she pulled out her old ear tubes there was a "good bit of inflammatory tissue" behind them that she had to remove, so we might expect some bleeding and discomfort. She wanted Brookie to spend the night, but felt that she'd be fine to go home the next day and use Tylenol for a few days.

Brookie seemed okay post-op and even drank some gatorade and was giving everyone her signature sign.

And then she started to run a high fever, which isn't really very common with this procedure. And then it got higher. And then they gave her tylenol, and it just got higher.

She took a cool bath and watched Dora while eating ice chips.

And slept a lot. And yet the fever climbed higher. And then her heart rate got really high too. And then she started to have a lot of internal swelling around her airway, making it hard to breathe well and swallow, so they decided to keep her for another night.

It was pretty rough for a while, but after steroids, antibiotics, painkillers, and fluids, eventually her fever started to come down and her vitals quit setting off the alarms. And her surgeon stopped by to check on her and assured me that this reaction was very abnormal... but "this kid does things a little different anyway."

She woke up for a little bit and visited with her Sissy.

And continued to tell us "I'm okay!"

And after a long three days, she got permission to go home.

And while we are still a good bit of sleepy and not a huge fan of eating, we are recovering quite well. After all, it was only routine.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Brooklyn!

You might wanna close your eyes...
It’ll take some time adjusting.
Welcome to your life...
You’re everything you’ll someday be.

There’s a weight off my shoulder...
There’s laughter in the air.
You are the answer to every midnight prayer.

You’re mine to love.
We have all been waiting on you.
You’re mine to love.
Come into these open arms.
It took some time to wait it out...
But I see it now, you’re worth all the dreaming of.
You’re mine to love...
You’re mine to love.

You might wanna take your time...
And take in all this technicolor.
We’re on your side...
Let us be the ones you need.

There’s a life on my shoulder...
Laughter in the air...
You are the answer to all those midnight prayers.

Every time that my heart was broken...
Every time that I’ve lost my way...
I forget when I look into your face.

You’re mine to love...
We have all been waitin’ on you.
You’re mine to love...
Come into these open arms.
‘Cause I’m right here...
It took some time to wait it out...
But I see it now, you’re worth the dreaming of...
You’re mine to love.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Brookie!
We are so glad you are ours to love!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big, Strong, Tough.

Brooklyn has a new habit of informing everyone that she is big, strong, and tough. (Though you probably won't understand her without the hilarious motions accompanying the routine). And that she is. Tomorrow she'll be having surgery that hopefully will make her all better and get rid of the nasty bacteria she has been dealing with all year. We appreciate your prayers for a smooth uncomplicated surgery and quick recovery... because come Saturday... we're gonna party like its 1999... because we'll have a very cute two-year-old on our hands!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Day of Winter.

After an unseasonably mild winter which makes for cheaper electric bills...
We had winter. For a day.
8 inches one day... none the next.
And that is the way I like it.

It was beautiful and cold and only closed off the roads for a few hours. All the pretty without any of the inconvenience. Nicely done, winter.

Brooklyn didn't really remember snow before (though it wasn't her first snow... she was born during snow!) and it was fun to see her wonder and excitement... and confusion... over the falling white stuff.

And naturally, Savannah was so excited that by the end of the 24-hour storm, we were ready to ship her off somewhere. Ahem.

The day ended with brownies and hot chocolate for all.

And it sure was fun. For a day.

Now, bring on the Spring!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A New Normal.

Sometimes I wish parenting came with a handbook. So I could use it to whack my kids over the head. Just kidding.

It would be nice to have special chapters to turn to when you are in a pinch. There have been many times I would like the "how to respond when your child says something humiliating in public because she is brutally blunt" chapter. Or the "how to fix the toilet when your kid poops a pea-sized turd and follows it up with an entire roll of toilet paper" chapter.


But what I would've really liked to read in the last year is the "how to cope with having a chronically-ill child" chapter. Its really too bad that handbook doesn't exist. However... you are in luck. Because I have learned a few things the very hard way... and am willing to share them for a small fortune. Or free to anyone who still reads my blog (I see that hand, thank you sir.)

1. The single most-important thing I have learned is that you just have to accept that this is the new normal. I spent a lot of time trying to "fix" things and make things return to how they should be, or what I wanted them to be. And it ain't workin'. So take it from me, sister, life is so much easier when you just accept that this is the way things are. So what if the hospital nurses know you and your entire family by first name and your pediatrician is your friend on facebook? Its the new normal. Who cares if when you travel its usually to a hospital? This is the new normal. You carry a whole host of medical supplies in your diaper bag just in case? Its the new normal. You talk to therapists more than your friends? This is the new normal. You have to cancel things, miss church, and never get to exercise because your child is always sick or hospitalized? Its the new normal. This is how things are now...healing doesn't always mean things going back to how they were... sometimes it means getting through the messy parts of life and having a little character to you afterward. And its okay.

2. Embrace sloppy success. Its okay if your house gets half-cleaned, if you cooking dinner consisted of ordering pizza, or if you got your makeup on but didn't wash your hair. Life is crazy, and you are doing the best you can. So drink another cup of coffee and don't beat yourself up. All of those people with the perfect clothes, spotless houses, and gourmet dinners didn't spend half of the day at the lab.

3. Enjoy your new perspective. Crises give a richness to character. They provide empathy and compassion. You'll no longer see the marker on the wall as a catastrophe... its now an accomplishment (did you see that pincer grasp?!). You've been freed from freaking out about the small things. There are much bigger problems out there than your preschooler who wanted to wear boots, a tutu, and a swimsuit to church.

4. Laugh often. If you don't, you'll cry. So look for the humor in every situation. Like when you've had to take samples into the lab so many times that the NP asks you at a visit, "You don't happen to have any of her poop with you for us to culture, do you?" Oh yes, I carry some in my purse. Or when your husband says something about a "search and seizure" and you wonder why they are searching someone who is seizing... and then you realize its not THAT kind of seizure. Just giggle... it'll be fun.

5. Remind yourself of how far you both have come. Think of all of the goals met. Look at where you were a year ago. Look at how much more you know and how much stronger you are! Look at what you have survived. Focus on all of the positives.

6. Take breaks often. You aren't meant to endure that high level of stress so constantly. You'll get burned out fast. Find a reliable, well-trained sitter, and go get that mani-pedi. Wonder around Target uninterrupted. Take a nap. Watch a chick-flick. Spend time NOT thinking about medical issues. And don't feel guilty.

7. Smile at ignorant people and don't let them ruffle your feathers. Some people just don't know better and don't understand. So just give them your best southern smile and keep on walkin'. Or let your 4 year old answer their dumb questions with her brutal honesty and then find the humor and you've achieved a lot in one scenario. ;)

So there you have it, my million dollar advice. If you sell it, please split the profit with me so that I can buy cute shoes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Jackpot.

I think having a four-year-old is like hitting the jackpot on parenting. I also love the newborn stage where they are teeny-tiny, snuggly, and sleepy. My least favorite age is 12-18 months, where the little stinkers are big enough to destroy your house but young enough not to really understand much. At two, it gets a little better, but then they can throw a major fit and still need a lot of help with stuff. Plus you have to potty train . Three is pretty good, but at four... they can do a ton of things for themselves but still think you are the coolest, prettiest, and most powerful person in the whole world. Savannah is totally potty trained (although that took half her life), can take a shower, dry her own hair, make her own bed, put away her laundry, fix her own breakfast, and can dress herself. And she still likes to snuggle.

And the creative outfits she comes up with are just an added bonus.

But in spite of being very independent, she still was completely in awe when it flurried a little over the weekend. And she told me that I don't need makeup, and I wouldn't look very good skinny. Love that kid!

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the kid-scissor crisis of 2012, but most days, having a four-year-old is like hitting the jackpot. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012


"A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

"Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love."

Happy Valentine's Day! We love you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On Being "Special."

I'm sure that some of my readers with "normal" children get tired of hearing about having a "special" child, but this is my life now. And it is, at times, consuming.

Yesterday seemed to be a normal day until I had to drive a nasty, poopy diaper to the lab. And somehow that isn't the weirdest thing I've had to do for Brooklyn.

So anyway, if you have a special-needs child, and you want a stress-relieving laugh and a few pictures of Ryan Gosling (yes, those two do go together, believe it or not) click here.

And also... a beautiful poem I found...

I Am The Child ~ Author Unknown

I am the child who cannot talk. You often pity me, I see it in your eyes. You wonder how much I am aware of — I see that as well. I am aware of much — whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire, or if you are just doing your duty by me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself or my needs as you do.

You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well-being, sharing my needs, or comments about the world about me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the world’s standards — great strides in development that you can credit yourself; I do not give you understanding as you know it.

What I give you is so much more valuable — I give you instead opportunities. Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine; the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities; the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, working harder, seeking answers to your many questions with no answers. I am the child who cannot talk.

I am the child who cannot walk. The world seems to pass me by. You see the longing in my eyes to get out of this chair, to run and play like other children. There is much you take for granted. I want the toys on the shelf, I need to go to the bathroom, oh I’ve dropped my fork again. I am dependent on you in these ways. My gift to you is to make you more aware of your great fortune, your healthy back and legs, your ability to do for yourself. Sometimes people appear not to notice me; I always notice them. I feel not so much envy as desire, desire to stand upright, to put one foot in front of the other, to be independent. I give you awareness. I am the child who cannot walk.

I am the child who is mentally impaired. I don’t learn easily, if you judge me by the world’s measuring stick, what I do know is infinite joy in simple things. I am not burdened as you are with the strife and conflicts of a more complicated life. My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child, to teach you how much your arms around me mean, to give you love. I give you the gift of simplicity. I am the child who is mentally impaired.

I am the disabled child. I am your teacher. If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life. I will give you and teach you unconditional love. I gift you with my innocent trust, my dependency upon you. I teach you about how precious this life is and about not taking things for granted. I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams. I teach you giving. Most of all I teach you hope and faith. I am the disabled child.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Not Me Monday

I did not attend a Kindergarten readiness seminar and gasp in shock over how many things kids have to know to go to Kindergarten. I did not feel like I hadn't prepared my child enough. I was not surprised that kids have to be able to cut out things with scissors, and realize I never let my kid use scissors. I did not go to Walmart and buy her kid scissors that day. Not me.

Yesterday, I was not changing Brooklyn's diaper and did not tell Savannah to clean her room. I did not feel proud that she was in there happily doing a thorough job. I did not go ahead and make dinner for Darren and I, give Brooklyn her medicine, and settle her in her crib before going to check on Savannah.

I did not, upon opening Savannah's door, find that she'd found her scissors. And that she'd used them... very well. I did not gasp and stand there with my mouth gaping open as I surveyed the damage. She had not cut up two pompoms, baby doll clothes, a tutu, and a pajama top, in addition to not cleaning her room at all.

I did not just back out of the room, shut the door, and when D got home from work declare to him that the child was HIS.

I did not decide that in the cutting department, she should be very well prepared for school.

Not me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012