Friday, December 31, 2010

The Latest

I'm back.  In my mind I've got lots to say...lets see if I can remember any of it.  I'll try and add some pictures too.  I got a new camera for Christmas that I've been practicing with so maybe the pictures will be better.  I'm going to try and add them myself.  That will be a first.  Beau usually handles the technical stuff around here but I just learned to upload my own pictures to the computer so things are looking up for me.  I know that's crazy but I really did just learn. 

Let's see...we had a good Christmas.  Lots of traveling and Gaines was not super awesome but still a good Christmas.  We left Wednesday after work and headed to Birmingham for 2 non-stop days.  Back home on Christmas Eve.  Santa excitement and a delicious breakfast Christmas morning before we headed to Andalusia for about 2 days.  We planned to stay until Monday morning but we decided Sunday evening that we needed to get Gaines back to reality ASAP.  Thank the Lord, he is back to normal now...a little better than normal actually.  He had 4 teeth coming in and they must have all broken through now because we've gone from non-stop whining and crying to a pleasant and lovable child again. 

See below for proof.  This was Gaines checking out what Santa brought him.  The second one cracks me up.




Beau's parents got Gaines a Cozy Coupe for Christmas and Gaines was a big fan.  This is him trying to get in as it was being put together.  This was actually a couple of days before Christmas.


And this is him fighting with Reed during Reed's turn.  He was not really excited about sharing.  As you can see, he's little, but he holds his own.


All in all we had a great Christmas.  We got to see lots of family that were way too generous. 

Let's see...what else.  I went to the mall today.  I don't really get to our mall a lot but it's always interesting to people watch.  There are all kinds of folks in this world.  Sometimes I just don't know...

Oh, check out these pictures I took tonight.  Gaines actually has a little belly.  He never has a belly.  He's the only child I know with a six-pack so I was awfully proud of it.  We had pizza and he ate a good little dinner tonight.  I'm glad he's eating again because he barely ate anything last week with those teeth hurting him.


These are a few others from tonight.  I mean I've just gone picture crazy in this post!

He was going sans oxygen for the bath.  I am so ready to see that cannula free face all the time.  This picture reminds me, does everyone else have to tell their children to not drink the bath water 400 times a night?  Both of mine do it and it grosses me out!  Tonight Reed said, "But I'm thirsty".  Oh...well in that case...drink up. 


Ignore his pizza face.  He got a bath right after I took that.  Yesterday he sat all those tools in the kitchen and told me not to touch them because they were "bery danger-ous".  Also, I'm aware that he needs a haircut.  It's on the list.  Speaking of haircuts...I tried to fix a bad haircut Gaines got a few weeks ago and look what happened. 


I have no idea how I managed that but I have been banned from using scissors on or near the children or dog.

One last picture and a shout out to my mom.  (Beau makes fun of me when I say shout out but whatev).  Check out these stockings she cross-stitched for the boys.  She hopes I know that she "ruined her arm" doing it...but I so appreciate them.


Oh, and one real last thing.  Gaines has an appointment with his pulmonologist on Monday.  Prayers that he'll stay healthy, will fatten up and will get a good report would be much appreciated.  

Peace out and Happy New Year!


Brittany 


Monday, December 13, 2010

A Real Post

So its been awhile...I'm sorry!  We had Beau's side of the family here for Thanksgiving and then Christmas decorating, I had an out of town work event and then the computer got a virus...as my grandmother would say, its been first one thing and two.   

My boys have been good.  They drive me crazy and make my heart happy all in the same minute.  Gaines is still taking steps here and there but still no "real" walking.  I can see him getting stronger everyday and have a peace that the walking will come.  We haven't pushed the oxygen weaning lately since its winter and right now he's got a cold but I'm ok with it.  We'll have oxygen all winter so I don't see much of a reason to push it.  He unplugs himself on a regular basis and we just let him go for a while.  Knowing that he's ok for an hour or two makes life a little easier.  That and the fact that Reed knows how to untangle and reconnect Gaines again. 

Lately he gets into any cabinet that will open and feels the need to slam every door that he encounters.  He's pretty ok with the Christmas trees but I bet I've picked up all the rolls of paper towels 4000 times since Saturday morning.  Oh, he is saying "thank you" now so that's kind of nice. 

The appetite stimulant is not quite the answer to the eating problem that we'd hoped but I do think its helping.  That and a new attitude that I've taken of of not forcing him.  I would literally have to overpower him to get him to drink his cup every night and it turned into a battle of wills that would cause me to be angry with him every night.  I'm more relaxed about the eating these days and life is so much better.  He's not exactly burning up the weight charts but he wasn't before either so I don't feel like it hurts.  I'm hoping it will lead to him eating more food and depend less on the calorie loaded bottles. 

OH...I can't remember if I've mentioned this or not but Gaines is sleeping in his own room now and it makes all the difference in the world.  Our whole house is sleeping better. 

Reed's been pretty great lately too.  He's getting so excited for Christmas.  I bought the Polar Express movie for him right after Thanksgiving and I don't think he blinked the first time he watched it.  After it was over he said, "Mama, Santa will be here any minute".  I laughed and had to explain that it would be a few weeks.  I can't wait to see him this Christmas morning. 

I've been trying to explain to him all along that Christmas is really Jesus' birthday but its tough to get him to understand with Santa and snowmen everywhere.  Anyone with ideas on this...please pipe up. 

Speaking of Santa, a few days ago we were sitting at the dinner table and Reed was talking to Beau and said, "When I get-fat like Mama..."  I think Beau about choked on his drink he was laughing so hard.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor I said, "Reed!  Mama is not fat!"  He said, "Yes you are...you are-fat like Santa".  Completely serious.  I couldn't believe it.  Beau loved it. 

Also, we were in Home Depot over the weekend and some lady had her little Yorkie with her.  Reed saw it and said, "Look mama, a kitty!". 

Ok...I better run for now.  There is a piece (or eight) of fudge in the kitchen calling my name.  It's been freezing down here so I might have to have a cup of hot chocolate too.  Oh, here's a tip for you...McDonald's has great hot chocolate.  Just wanted you to know.  Peace out. 

Oh and there are a couple of new pictures below.

Love to all,

Brittany

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pictures of the Boys

Reed was Spiderman and Gaines was a turtle for Halloween.


We walked around the corner and Reed had pieces of toliet paper on the seat of the toilet like you would do at a public toilet...but this was the toilet in our house.  I guess Reed thinks we need to clean a little bit better.


The boys in front of the Christmass Tree.  We took a few pictures of Gaines with no canula...this was one of those pictures.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Computer had a virus

Below is what Brittany intended to post just before Thanksgiving.  Then our computer got a virus.  Anyway, the post is below and we will update on Gaines in the next couple of days.


I’ve been thinking that I should do a things I’m thankful for post and last night I guess I dreamed about it or something but I did not sleep well and woke up with it on my mind several times so in an effort to get a better night’s sleep tonight, here goes…in no particular order.

I am thankful:

-for a God who loves me no matter how awful I am and who listens to and answers my prayers. Not always exactly in the manner or timeframe that I want them answered, but answered nonetheless.

-for people who I know and do not know that pray for my family. Those prayers have sustained us for the last 20 months or so and I fully believe are the reason that Gaines is doing so well.

-that Gaines was off oxygen for 2 hours the last couple of days. 2 down, 22 to go.

-that my concerns about Gaines are so drastically different now than they were this time last year. Last year I was so worried that he’d never hold his head up and now…his future looks SO much brighter. He’s almost walking, he says new words everyday, the oxygen weaning is going well, he is on track cognitively…God is so good. I mean, this is a child that almost didn’t make it and he is doing SO well. I’d love to snap my fingers and “fix” him totally but watching this unfold makes me really appreciate the miracle.

-for Reed and the way he keeps me laughing. For the times that he wakes up hungry at 3 am because he didn’t eat his dinner and upon being sent back to bed says, “Will you sleep with me, mama?” For waking me up to fix his breakfast by playing his guitar in the dining room. For being so easy. For just being a precious, precious child 98% of the time.

-for Gaines and his sweet hugs…and the progress he is making on listening and minding.

-for a husband who loves me and puts up with most of my craziness, who doesn’t mind emptying the dishwasher (which I despise), and who is such a great dad to my boys.

-for my little family and my extended family. I grew up surrounded by my extended family and really took it for granted. The older I get the more I realize how much work it takes to stay a family and I’m thankful that all the facets of mine really put forth the effort to make that happen.

-for good parents.

-for my sister.

-for in-laws that I love and enjoy. Not everyone has that. Now, I’m not saying they don’t drive me crazy from time to time but so does the family I was raised with so I consider myself lucky.

-for my house. It will forever be a work in progress (and has been on hiatus since Gaines) but it keeps my little family safe and warm and dry. In a time of foreclosures on every street I feel blessed to have a little piece of this earth to create a home.

-for Jack. He’s pushing his luck these days but he makes me happy and he loves my boys…most of the time.

-for diet wild cherry pepsi. Now, the last time I mentioned this tasty treat on here, my grocery store ran out of it. I don’t think enough people still read this blog to make a dent in the diet wild cherry supply in town but it was certainly annoying. Please leave me a 12 pack next time!

-for pewter fingernail polish because it keeps me cool.

-for my job that I really, really enjoy. It is so nice to enjoy what you do and to work for a great company.

-for Reed’s school and Ms. Kristin. Knowing that your children are safe and taken care of by people that love them is such a blessing.

-for friends…old ones that get me and new ones that are still figuring me out.

-for our pediatrician and our pastor. Two of the only people whose advice I would never question…and that is really saying something.

-for Target and Publix. I just love them. They make shopping such a pleasant experience.

-for my Saturday Publix runs with Reed. It slows me down a bit but I love him helping with my list and his “signing” the items in and out of the cart.

-for having the job of taking Reed to and from school every day. We have the most interesting conversations on those rides.

-for having the job of putting Gaines to bed. It’s the sweetest part of the day with him.

-for Gaines SLEEPING IN HIS OWN ROOM!!! It’s been a week now and our whole house sleeps so much better.

-for the buffalo chicken dip that we eat every Saturday in the fall.

-for rosemary mint shampoo.

-for my new hair straightener.

-for cheese puffs, chocolate pop-tarts, oatmeal cream pies and all the other junk we use to fatten Gaines up.

-for fall.

-for good sunglasses.

-for my favorite gap jeans.

-for the silver necklace that I found at the Ann Taylor outlet and wear every other day.

-for the opportunity to set a pretty table (although I was told by my husband “You are setting a table for 8 people to eat dinner at Brittany , not for a magazine cover”) and decorate for the holidays.

-for the rare occasions that I get to ride in the car by myself with the windows down and the music up.

-for windows that open (they didn’t always).

-for lights on dimmers that help hide the dust.

-for couch cushions that can go in the washing machine.

-for break and bake cookies.

I’m sure there is more but that should be good enough to help me sleep.

Peace, love and happy thanksgiving,

Brittany

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Three Items

So, its not quite walking, but Gaines took two steps tonight!  I am SO excited.  I know it is just two steps but when you are told that walking could be a problem for your child, it is HUGE.  I don't want to get ahead of myself because we still have a long way to go but TWO STEPS!!  God is so good. 

Also, just a quick note on my Reed.  Tonight I was making a pound cake and I got the eggs out of the fridge without taking the carton out and Reed looked at me and asked, "Are there birds in there?" 

And...because I know you all have been on the edge of your seats.  I did paint my fingernails pewter(ish) and I'm pretty much twice as cool as I already was. 

More later.  Just wanted to share these three things.

Love to all,

Brittany   

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Hour Off Oxygen

Just a quick note to let y'all know that I took Gaines off oxygen for an hour this evening and he did it!  I'm so proud of him.  I just unplugged him and checked his sats every 5 minutes and he was above 95 everytime.  Yay for Gaines.  Well, let me clarify that, towards the end he'd be at like 93 but I'd hold him still for a minute and sing to him and he'd go to 95, 96, 97.  I think that counts.  It was probably my voice (its like angels) that pumped him back up...or more than likely, that he was actually still and we got a good reading. Either way, I"m pumped!  We'll try an hour each day for the next three days.  I'll keep you posted. 

Love to all,

Brittany

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random Tidbits

Well, I really don’t have too much to report. I’ve had a couple of sweet boys lately and we've just been sort of living and loving life.

Reed had a 3 year checkup this week. He seems to be in good health so that’s good news. Apparently when you turn 3 they like to get a urine sample (sorry for using the word urine so early in this post) and Beau says that Reed was not into going in a cup. This is the conversation that Beau relayed to me:


R-“Daddy, I not want to tee tee in a cup”
B-“I know buddy but just try”
R-“You go first”

No sample was produced.

I’m kind of thankful for that because you never really know how their little minds work and I didn’t want to catch him trying it at home.

In other news, we started Gaines on an appetite stimulant last night. I think it’s too early to tell if it’s working but I think he ate a little more today. Beau and I just decided we were tired of forcing Gaines to eat and getting him in trouble for wanting down at dinner or pushing his cup away. The child just simply isn’t hungry. I’m hoping this will help. We were having to physically overpower him to get cups into his mouth sometimes. He’d usually give in and take it but it was always a struggle. The good news in there is that he’s now totally on sippy cups and off of the bottle. FINALLY. It took a lot of tough love on that one but he’s doing it. He’s not stubborn at all, why do you ask?

Let’s see…what else?

-I’ve been running pretty steadily again so that makes it harder to keep this updated. My non-running nights are spent keeping the house together and running semi-smoothly.

-I noticed yesterday that Beau bought single roll toilet paper instead of double roll. I know it’s really not a big deal but it’s kind of been bothering me all day. The single rolls just run out twice as fast as the double which means people in my house leave empty toilet paper rolls on the holder twice as fast. I am apparently the only one in my house with the coordination and skill that it takes to handle that task. Sorry…got off track there.
-I have become a big fan of diet wild cherry pepsi. I went out on a limb and bought a whole 12 pack and Beau and I have been fighting over them. I had the last one today and I can’t wait to buy more. We will be drinking the diet mountain dews first though…we are not going to waste them.
-I love pumpkin spice candles during the fall. I believe fall is my favorite season.
-Lately, Gaines has been standing up in his high chair and saying “duh” (done). It’s pretty cute but I usually have to sit him back down and tell him that no, he’s not. He seems more and more little boy and less baby every day. He is the sweetest thing at night right before bed. So loving and sweet. I love it.
-Reed has had a hard time adjusting to wearing long pants and many mornings you will catch him trying to roll his jeans up into shorts. It looks really nice. Also, he pushes his shirt sleeves up to his armpits. Another good look.

-I'm super excited that the Pioneer Woman will be on Throwdown with Bobby Flay next week.  Way more excited than I should be. 

-I'm thinking of painting my fingernails pewter.  We'll see how that goes. 

-I think I might have a cookie addiction problem.  I eat them A LOT.  Like seriously a lot and its starting to become a problem.  In my mind, it doesn't matter what I eat if I'm running...wrong.

-I am not editing this post.  Deal with it.
I think that’s about it for now. Catch y’all next time.
Love to all,

Brittany

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm Back

Well…after a brief hiatus…I’m back, and I have lots to report. Aren’t you lucky? This could get long.

I’ll skip all the excuses about my absence for the last couple of weeks and just dive right in…except, I have been really busy and whenever I had the rare opportunity to do my own thing, I just tried to rest. I was worn out but I think I’ve rested up this week and kind of feel like my life is back in order…or getting there. You know how sometimes you just are so busy that you don’t have time to think? I like to think about things and decide how I’m going to address them or what my plan for the day is going to be…stuff like that. I’ve taken this week to think and make lists and organize and I have miles to go (I always will) but now I feel a little more together. So much for no excuses…moving on…

I have health news to report about Gaines but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, my little Reed turned 3! I cannot believe that we’ve had him around for 3 years now. He is so much fun. He’s so smart and mostly sweet…a little rough. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love that child. He was my bright spot on the hard days with Gaines and he keeps me laughing everyday. I love talking to him on the way to and from school. From what I can tell he never learns anything and most of the time he had no idea what he had for lunch. I’ll always say, “What did you learn at school today, what did you do?” and he’ll say “I rode a motorcycle…but I didn’t ride a motorcycle”. Ooookay…not sure how to take that. Or “What did you have for lunch today?” “I don’t know”. At least I usually can get a straight answer on who he played with that day. One day he told me who he played with but then told on himself and said, “But me and Chase did not listen at Jungle Gems”. Made me laugh. I tell him all the time that he makes my heart happy.

Back to his birthday. We kind of made a weekend out of it. My mom came up and spent the weekend with us so Beau and I left Gaines with her Friday night and took Reed to the fair. We wanted to do something with just Reed and really, Gaines has no business being at the fair right now. Reed had so much fun. He didn’t ride any real rides but he did ride the horses that they had. Really he was much more interested in all of the farm animals. He played a game and won a sword that is about 2 ½ times his size and we ate delicious fair food. When we sat down to eat, Reed looked at me and said, “Mama, thank you for bringing me to the fair.” Beau said, “What about me, Reed?” I looked at Beau and said, “Thanks for coming with us!” He is so good about telling us thank you for taking him places and it makes me want to say, “I’ll take you anywhere you want to go baby.”


Oh, he also fed animals in the petting zoo and gave money to a monkey in exchange for a post card. You know how sometimes you use a sentence that you never thought you’d hear yourself say? It happened to me that night when I said, “Here Reed. Do you want to give this money to the monkey?” I thought to myself, what am I saying? We also hit the little circus that they had there…it was pretty cute. Reed was in awe.

On his actual birthday, we all got up and went to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast. After we ate, Reed and Gaines played on the play equipment and Beau and I smiled when we heard Reed say to Gaines “Come here little buddy”. Gaines was all up in that play equipment right behind Reed but he wouldn’t do the slide. Kind of strange for our little daredevil.

After that we went to the pumpkin patch and had a great time. I picked out a family pumpkin for us and we let Reed pick one for his room. He walked around for a good while looking for a “perfect pumpkin”. I’m pretty sure that by “perfect” he meant tiny because the one that he finally declared “perfect” was about the size of an orange. It didn’t even really have a stem. When he found it he said, “It’s perfect” and there was no convincing him otherwise.


We decided to do his birthday party on Sunday to avoid any football plans and it turned out great. My dad lined off our backyard like a football field and we had a football party. It was so cute. This is the conversation I had with Reed when he first saw the yard. Its so much funnier in his little exaggerated voice.

Me: What is this?
R: It looks like a swimming pool.
Me: I think it looks like a football field. I guess we’ll have to have a football party!  Who do you think did this?
R: I think my pop did it.
Me: Why do you think Pop did it?
R: Because he really, really likes football parties.

Well duh…I should have known.


Switching gears to the Gainser. He’s had a couple of appointments lately so I have lots to report. First, his
hernia follow-up appointment went great (and lasted about 5 minutes from parking lot back to parking lot…I need this doctor to give the others lessons). He is healing nicely and the hernia has not come back. Good to know because I really did not know that was a concern in the first place.

We also met with pulmonology that same day…and of course, Gaines had a cold. Might have had a little something to do with the hay on the hayride at the pumpkin patch but we cannot be sure so no one put me up for mother of the year just yet. Because of this cold, they couldn’t really see how well that I think he is doing but agreed that he seemed to be doing great. He has outgrown one diuretic and is very close on the other so we’ll probably lose those meds after the next appt in January. Blue Cross probably has that date circled on their calendar.

He’d gained some weight but not as much as I’d really like so we are working on that. They did tell me that once Gaines was completely over this cold, we could try little periods of time off of oxygen. Starting with one hour and working our way up to 3 hours twice a day. Now, before we all breakout into song, I am almost certain that they do not think Gaines is ready to handle this and they only through me this bone because I kind of teared up over being so tired of the oxygen at the appointment.

The nurse practitioner was telling me that we’d lose meds first and then oxygen, especially this time of year and I told her that the doctor told me we could do oxygen first. She asked if there was any particular reason I wanted to do that and I just flat out told her, “Well, honestly, having a baby on oxygen kind of sucks”. I don’t normally talk to medical personnel that way but are you kidding me? Why? She’s a very nice lady and didn’t mean to upset me at all and I know that she empathizes but when I teared up and she said, “I understand…”, I said, “No you don’t…unless you’ve had a child on oxygen, you do not understand”. We deal with it and are used to it and answer strangers questions and untangle Gaines 895 times a day and we manage but there will be no tears shed when they come take this oxygen away.

All that said, I’ve come to realize that this is not the end of the world (take a trip to a Children’s Hospital and try and feel sorry for yourself) and it will be over one day but in that particular moment I was just so frustrated! I wanted a great report and I got a fine one. I had already decided what I wanted to hear so anything less was a disappointment. I did come to learn that day that Gaines’ BPD (his lung condition) was categorized as “severe” (as opposed to mild and moderate) when he first saw this doctor and that generally those kids are on oxygen until they are 3 (they think Gaines will be off next spring at age 2) and some are still on ventilators at this point. Kind of made me thankful for a ¼ liter of oxygen.

We got a great developmental report this week too. He was evaluated this week and was found to only be delayed in his Gross Motor skills (walking, basically) and borderline delayed in Adaptive Skills (feeding himself). The feeding himself thing is only because we don’t really let him try much. Every single calorie he gets is so important that we don’t really take chances with missing his mouth. The good news…actually I think its great news, is that he showed no delays in Fine Motor, COGNITIVE (!), Communication and Social/Emotional development. On some of those things he tested within his adjusted age and some he tested for his actual age so that is great. Everyday he seems more and more “little boy” to me. I’ve started noticing him doing things that Reed used to do and to me it means NORMAL ! Normal kids do that!

Now, if we could just get him walking. Please keep walking and weight gain in your prayers. I can’t wait for Gaines to be running around with Reed. Visions of two little boys running around our backyard kept me going when I was on bed rest and in a really, really low place. I know that God has that in store for our family. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that Gaines is doing this well because of your prayers. I’ve said it before, but Gaines was on his way out of this world and your prayers are the reason he’s here and doing so well. And that is the reason that while I might not do it everyday, I will keep this blog updated so that the people who prayed for Gaines can keep up with their miracle.


Ok…I’m out for now…I’ll try and be back soon because it takes way too much typing to catch-up!

Love to all,

Brittany

Monday, October 4, 2010

We're Still Alive

We're alive and well at the Daniel house...just kind of busy.  I think I'll update this in bullet points.  It just feels like a bullet point kind of day.  I feel like it gives me the ability to hop from topic to topic...as if I don't do that in these posts already.

-Gaines is still doing great.  I'd say that he is pretty much healed from his surgery.  All of his stitches are gone except for a few that are under some sort of tape that they said would dissolve.  It hasn't yet and I'm not messing with it.  He goes back in a couple of weeks for a check-up and I'm sure he'll get a good report. 

-Oxygen update:  Gaines is still doing great on the oxygen.  He goes back for that appointment the first week of November and I'm hoping that we'll get to start trying periods off oxygen.  The timing isn't great since we are getting into cold and flu season but I'm hopeful.  I actually made flu shot appointments today.  I can't believe its that time of year again.

-Still no walking for Gaines.  I'm trying not to worry about this but I am a little.  Actually that's a lie...last week I had a full blown meltdown over it but I'm at peace again (for the moment).  I just SO want life to be easy and normal for him.  I want him to be able to run and play with Reed and not have to sit on the sidelines.  Ok...off that before I have another pity party.  I swear part of it is just that Gaines doesn't seem to really want to walk.  He's got a little stubborn streak in him and no matter how hard I try to practice, if Gaines doesn't want to, he doesn't.  He and I tie up over this on a regular basis.  It usually results in me stomping off muttering under my breath about him being so hard-headed.  I really think I have a shot at mother of the year this year.  Prayers for the walking please.  You all know what your prayers have done for Gaines so far...they work. 

-Along those same lines on prayer...I am just amazed on a regular basis how powerful prayer is.  I mean, I know that God doesn't answer every prayer exactly the way we want Him to...sometimes he just has bigger plans for us...but it is just so awesome when He does.  And it happens all the time if you watch.   

-I don't know what it is about my boys and toilets but when Reed was little he was constantly playing in the toilet and Gaines seems to be following in his footsteps.  Every time it gets quiet around here I realize where he is and I have to go pull him and whatever he's got out of the toilet.  Last night it was Beau's shoe.  Oh, and now that its long-sleeve weather this has become even more of a problem because now there is clothes changing involved.  Did y'all like that segway from God to toilets?  See, I can do that with bullet points.

-Reed moved up to the next class at school today.  He is officially a Jungle Gem and he is SO excited.  His teachers said that he did great on his first day.  I'm so proud of him but I cannot believe how big he is getting.  He will be 3 in less than two weeks and I just cannot believe it.  This is the first time that I've really realized how much he's growing up and it makes me a little sad. 

-We are big into zurberts (the sound you get when you blow into some one's stomach) at our house these days and today on the way home Reed said, "Mama...when we get home...I want you to give daddy...a zurbert".  I just kind of laughed and said that I didn't think daddy would be home when we got there.  A few minutes later he said, "But, daddy really doesn't like zurberts"...I just thought it was funny because he does not.  I think it weirds him out.  A few other Reed quotes of late:
"Daddy, we've got a problem."
"Gaines, that is not what we do". 
"No, no, no Gaines!" 
"Mama, look at what Gaines is doing".
In response to me asking what he did at school that day, "I rode a motorcycle...but, I didn't ride a motorcycle".
He hears Beau call me "Brit" some times and he'll copy him and call me "Drit"
At a red light this weekend on the way to a birthday party:  "Mama, go!  I gotta get to my party".
Oh, and this is so annoying but he copies me when I get him in trouble some times.  "No Rweed"..."We don't do that Rweed".  I decided today that's a timeout offense.   

-I've started back running...which is part of the reason this hasn't been updated in a while.  Tonight is an off night.  I'm glad to be doing some sort of exercise again.  I'd kind of given up for a while.  Plus I don't feel so guilty for my eating habits.

-I am pumped about this fall weather we are having.  Any chance I get I open the windows and light my pumpkin spice candle.  I planted mums this weekend and pushed the season a little and made chili for dinner Saturday night.  Loving it. 

-OH!  We were out at a store the other day and Reed and I overheard a little boy (about 7) telling his mother that he was going to "punch her in the face".  Obviously I was appalled and quickly had a little quiet talk with Reed about how ugly it was and how we did not talk to people like that.  But, my question is this...how do you handle something like that?  That mother seemed to be ignoring it (and I'm not criticizing because I've never been in that position and different things work for different people and maybe that's the best way to deal with that) but I can't help but think that my child and I would have had a nice little "chat" outside.  Makes me want Reed to stay 3 forever.

I think that's about it for now.  I'll try and be back soon.  In the mean time we'll be living and loving life. 

Love to all,

Brittany

Monday, September 20, 2010

Frazzled But Happy

Little Gaines seems to be healing with no problems. It certainly has not slowed him down one bit. I don’t think he had any pain medicine after Wednesday and before that he was really only getting Motrin. When we got home Tuesday, I fixed a little pallet on the floor with lots of pillows and toys all around so that he could play in one spot but Gaines was not having anything to do with that. He took off and has been crawling, climbing and cruising since then. I prayed for an easy and quick recovery but I would have never hoped for this. Oh…and he’s doing awesome with this oxygen right now. His next pulmonology appointment is in early November but if he keeps doing so well, I think I might call and see if we can wean something.

He was feeling so good that late in the week we decided to head to Andalusia to visit my family. Can I please just tell you how much I enjoy going down there? I just love being home and with all of my family. I didn’t get to see all of them this time (there are a lot) but I did see about half. There is just something about being with people that know your life’s story and still love you. Plus they all think my kids are as great as I do (or at least they are good at pretending they do!) so that doesn’t hurt.

I’m kind of taking it easy this week at home. Just trying to relax and get caught up on some things. I feel kind of frazzled at home these days. Not with my family…just lots of projects going on. I used to be so on top of things…Oh well…I’d rather have my children. Reed has a birthday coming up in a few weeks and Thanksgiving isn’t to far behind that and most of you will think I’m crazy but I’ve kind of started working on Christmas shopping. I haven’t bought much yet but I’ve got a budget going and lots of ideas that I’m putting on paper. I have to have everything on paper because my brain won’t hold it all anymore. Then later, I can just stare at my paper for a good 30 minutes and soak it all in, process it and work from it. Crazy…but it keeps me sane.

I think that’s about it for now. I’ll try and post more about the boys later. My brain just isn’t focused right now…things to do. Tonight’s projects are to dust the dining room, put all my fall decorations (hence the dining room dusting) and ironing clothes. Because you needed to know all of that.

Love to all,

Brittany

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Home

Gaines had his surgery yesterday and we are now at home.  Everything went really well.  The doctor said that his hernia was "huge" and he had to make two incisions but other than that, everything went as expected.  He went on and came off the ventilator fine. 

Poor Gaines is now in the recovery period.  I think he's doing remarkably well considering his circumstances but he's definitely feeling it.  They kept us in the hospital overnight and Gaines slept most of the day yesterday.  He seems much more himself today.  We get little smiles and he's playing some.  Gaines on Loratab is not that bad of a deal.  He's sweet and snuggly and not all of the place.  I'll be glad when the real Gaines is back but I'm enjoying this snuggly one right now. 

I better run, I just got up from a nap and its my turn to care for the patient.  I tell you...this was one of the worst nights sleep in a hospital for me.  None of them are ever good but Gaines slept so restlessly...it was rough.  And I'd estimate that Gaines pulled my hair 837 times.  By pull, I do not mean a gentle tugging, I mean he grabs a handful of hair and yanks with all of his might. We've really got to work on that. 

Thank you for all of the prayers.  Gaines did great and so did I.  I know it was because of all the prayers yesterday. 

Love to all,

Brittany

Saturday, September 11, 2010

One Year Ago...

We've had Gaines home for one year today.  Sometimes it feels like its flown by and sometimes it feels like its been 5 years.  Just wanted to let y'all know.  He's come so far in the last year.  I tell you...nobody makes me madder than Gaines Daniel (used to be my sister but she got dethroned when Gaines and his attitude showed up) but nobody loves that child more than me either...I'm sure Beau would argue with me on that but you know what I mean. 

Hernia surgery is next week.  Please keep Gaines in your prayers...and his mama.  I was fine until anesthesia called last week and told me they'd probably have to put him on the ventilator.  I am not excited about that at all.  I cried...at work...it was lovely.  I'm ok now but I know I'll be a nervous wreck the next few days.  I just cannot wait to put this behind us. 

That's all for now.  I've got a football game to watch.  Roll Tide!

Oh...speaking of.  I proved myself as a good mother and wife yesterday.  I went to a consignment sale and saw a little Auburn jersey (I'm a big Alabama fan while Beau is Auburn).  I looked everywhere for an Alabama one and could not find one but I knew that Reed would think a football jersey was awesome so I sucked it up and bought it for him (I almost put it back two or three times).  He loves it...but much to Beau's dismay, he kept calling it is Alabama football shirt.  Anyway, it occured to me today that this experience is kind of like the first time you let your child throw up in your hand.  You do a lot of gross things for your kids. 

And he'll have an Alabama one soon.  Reed and I were actually on the lookout for one today. 

Love to all,

Brittany

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life Is Good

So I'm back.  I haven't actually gone anywhere...just haven't spent a lot of time on the computer outside of work.  We had a good Labor Day around here.  Beau's sister and her family spent the weekend with us and his parents spent all day Saturday with us all.  We had a great time and actually relaxed most of the weekend...well, as much as you can with four kids in one house.  There was a touch of fall in the air (although its gone now...I hate a weather tease) and college football started.  Just a good weekend all the way around. 

Life has been pretty good lately.  The kind of good where you actually enjoy and appreciate your family.  Its amazing what a long weekend can do for you.  I think I'm still in a relaxed state of mind...either that or I am living in an alternate universe where I have time for painting projects, can't see the random toys strewn arouund my house, and oatmeal cream pies don't have calories.  Either way, I'm soaking it up.

I got a renewed since of hope this weekend with Gaines' walking.  Anytime he'd hang on my legs wanting to be held, I'd just take one of his hands and make him walk a little.  He did great and its definite progress because he's never really been able to walk well with just one hand.  So, I'm excited about that.  Please keep the walking in your prayers...they are helping.  Oh, also prayers for his hernia surgery.  This time next week, we'll have that all behind us.  I'm nervous, but ready to get it over with.

This weekend we got Reed's powerwheel Jeep out for the kids to play with.  You may remember seeing pictures of it on here about a year ago.  We put it up after its initial outing because Reed was just too little for it but got it back out this weekend.  To say he loves it is probably the understatement of the year.  The kids played on it all weekend long and had a blast.  This morning, I saw Reed putting on his shoes (while still in his pajamas) and his "baseball hat" (which he likes to wear backwards ???) so I asked him what he was doing.  He told me he "needed to check on something in the backyard" which is code for, "I want to ride my Jeep". 

We talked him out of it this morning with a promise that he could ride if he had a good day at school.  He did, and the pictures below are of Reed and Gaines this afternoon.  It was Gaines' first time on the Jeep and I think he liked it as much as Reed.  Just look at those faces. 

I'm sorry, but have you ever seen two more beautiful boys?

Love to all,

Brittany

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm Fine

I don't have a lot to report tonight but I decided that I better get on here and announce that I'm back to loving my family again.  This past week has been MUCH better than the week before was.  We've actually had a pretty relaxing weekend (or as relaxing as it gets with small children) and I've gone to bed thinking how blessed that I am to have my little family.  Its really hit me lately that no matter how hard the days or weeks are, they are nothing compared to what they were this time last year.  Last year right now Gaines was STILL in the hospital.  Kind of puts things in perspective.  He's doing awesome by the way.  He's still working on his talking and is an expert at getting into things he shouldn't be.  What the appeal of my vase cabinet is, I will never know. 

Let's see...what else? This weekend I got to utter the phrase, "Reed, we do not use mama's make-up brushes to clean the floors."  His response:  "Well, the floor was a little wet".  Awesome. 

Oh, Gaines flipped himself out of his pack and play Saturday morning.  He sleeps in the pack and play in our room and pulled himself up on the side.  He got a little top heavy and flipped out.  We woke up to, Thud.  "Waaaa!"  That child is a M.E.S.S. 

I fished a book out of the toilet this weekend.  Thanks Gaines. 

This is a random post so I'll end with a random question.  Does anyone else have children that prefer not to wear clothes around the house?  Is it a boy thing?  We aren't home five minutes in the afternoons before Reed strips down to his underwear.  That's what he wears for the evening...underwear.  Oh, and sometimes, when he puts his underwear on himself, he puts it on inside out and backwards.  I probably should help him fix it but most of the time I leave him alone just because it makes me laugh to see him walking around like that.  Beau usually fixes it with a disapproving look in my direction but I can't help it.  I'd post a picture of it but I'm guessing that's inappropriate. 

All right, that's all for now.  I'm out. 

Love to all,

Brittany

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Confessions

I know it’s been a little while; I was informed on Friday that there had been no post for 8 days. We just had a busy week. Beau had after work things two nights and Gaines just didn’t really allow for much blogging time. He was in rare form last week. Thankfully he seems to be phasing out of whatever got into him but I tell you…he was rough. I wouldn’t blog at night because I was so physically, mentally and emotionally drained from him and I wasn’t really sure of what I might type about the little guy. I mean, I don’t know if I’m the only mother out there that feels this way and I probably shouldn’t admit it on the internet (or anywhere else) but there are times that I don’t really enjoy my children. Obviously I always love them and believe me I KNOW that I should appreciate them and just enjoy every little minute I have with them but sometimes it’s incredibly hard. That probably makes me an awful mother but it’s true.

I really struggled with that this week. I knew I wasn’t being the best mother and I felt guilty for not being more patient and loving with Gaines because you all know just how lucky we are to have him. I felt terrible for feeling the way I did but I couldn’t help it. I felt like maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a mother…I mean, a good mother is supposed to enjoy her children and sing songs to them in the bathtub and laugh and gently say “No, no” when they pull her hair for the eight thousandth time and carry her baby around on her hip just because he wants to be held and not get angry with them because they’ve just spit up (AGAIN!). Good mothers pat their child’s head and say “Poor baby, are you ok?” I get on here at times and I see all these happy blogs with the good mothers and happy children and I wonder if other people ever feel the same way.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m always frustrated with them because I’m certainly not. Most times I enjoy them but there are days (or a week) that are just hard. I’ve cut myself some slack because I’ve come to realize that I am a good mother. I love my children and would do anything necessary for them to be happy and healthy. And I know that it’s ok for me to have days that I don’t enjoy them all day long or need a break from them. They are precious and wonderful and bring so much happiness to my life but they aren’t always easy and I don’t think God intended for them to be. I can only figure that I’m supposed to be learning something from them on the days that I consider giving them away (that is a joke, please do not send child services to my house). My guess is patience. Why is that so hard to learn? There are days when I tell God, “Ok…I got it. I’ve been working on patience for over a year now…you can move on to someone else. Go ahead and “fix” my child so I can go about with my life.” I suspect He laughs at that.
This post has taken a whole different theme than I intended but once I started typing it just took on a life of its own. I REALLY hope that people reading this understand how much I love my children and that my brutal honesty here is appreciated and doesn’t make me out to be a monster of a mother. I’m not perfect and I’m STILL working on patience but I love my children and I love being a mother and raising my boys. Reed seems to have turned out ok so far (at the ripe old age of 2 ½) so maybe I’ll make it through this time with Gaines and he’ll end up alright too.
Other than my patience issues, everything else is going well at our house. Reed still cracks me up everyday and Gaines still gives the best hugs. Gaines is learning new words and picked up “ball” over the weekend. Still no walking but he seems to be getting stronger and if I get him just right, he can stand for 3-4 seconds which isn’t the goal but its better than he was doing 2 weeks ago. He also pushes around push toys but doesn’t walk on his own. I haven’t put out a prayer request in a while but I would really appreciate prayers for Gaines’ legs. I don’t feel a ton of pressure just yet for him to be walking but I do feel some and I know it will only get worse as the months go by. Please pray that his balance would get stronger and that he’ll be walking very soon. I know that his lungs will eventually get better but I don’t know for a fact about the walking so I’d really appreciate some peace on that issue.
I think that’s about it for now. I hope you appreciate the honesty.
Love to all,
Brittany

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life With Reed

So many of my posts are about Gaines so I decided to do one about life with Reed these days. The first few things are little funny (to me anyway) conversations we’ve had.

Me: Reed, I am so ready for fall.
Reed: Me too.
Me: Do you know what fall is?
Reed: It what Humpty Dumpty Do.

Reed: Mama, can you help me put this crayon in my ear?
Me: Why in the world do you want a crayon in your ear? We don’t put things in our ears, Reed.
Reed: Like this. (He shows me that he really means over his hear like someone might put a pencil).
Me: Oh…you mean over your ear. Where have you seen someone do that?
Reed: The smurf do it. (Handy Smurf keeps a pencil above his ear and apparently Reed noticed.)

Me: Reed, you are getting so big. I don’t want you to grow up.
Reed: But I have to.
Me: Why do you have to?
Reed: Because I really don’t like being little.

Last weekend we went through all of the stuff the boys have outgrown so that we could get rid of it all…to purge as my dad likes to call it. I came across a little suitcase on wheels that used to be Reed’s. Reed saw it and fell in love with it. After he realized it wasn’t for him to get in (he asked me to zip him up in there) he started pulling it around and I heard him say, “Thanks for coming! Have a safe trip!” about 594 times over the course of the afternoon/evening. It was an afternoon’s worth of entertainment. I put it in his closet that night but the next day he was dragging it around again. He had it loaded up with some of his junk and was giving out prizes. He’d say, “Mama, I got you a prize” and it would be some random piece of plastic that probably went with some other toy. Great. Thanks. That went on for two days before he lost interest.

Also, the last two nights I’ve gotten in bed and I’ve felt something with my foot. Two nights in a row I’ve reached under the covers and found a small, wooden, toy ambulance. That must be where it parks.

My cell phone has been lost for the last couple of days. I wasn’t terribly concerned about it as the 3 people who actually call my cell phone also know my work and home numbers but last night I decided that Reed and I were going to go on a cell phone hunt and look for it until we found it. I searched everywhere and he didn’t hinder the process too much. I took all the couch/chair cushions off (with Reed’s help of course), I looked under the couch, chair and ottoman, I took all the toys out of the toy baskets, I checked all the riding toy compartments where the boys like to keep their treasures, the cabinet I caught Gaines trying to put the remote the day before (where we NEVER would have found it), under beds, behind furniture…everywhere. Or so I thought. Until I saw the little blue suitcase. And there it was. One cell phone.

In the process of the cell phone hunt, you will be glad to know that the following items also turned up under various pieces of furniture: 24 puzzle pieces, a golf ball, an orange foam fish, a yellow plastic fish, a toy ipod, 3 blocks, 2 coasters, a plastic cow from Chik-Fil-A, an elephant rattle, a thermometer, a singing bunny, 2 slippers, 2 fruit loops (which Reed ate before I could stop him), 3 writing pens, one rubber band and one bottle of water. Do not judge me.

Love to all,

Brittany

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Morning...

I thought I’d give y’all a glimpse into my morning this morning. Beau had to leave at 5:30 today which meant I had to handle getting the boys and getting myself dressed for work by myself. Here’s how it went:

3:30-5:00-Gaines whimpered and cried about every 20 minutes. Finally at 5:00 he seemed to get back into a deep sleep.
5:01-I hear Beau’s alarm on his phone go off (he slept on the couch to try and not wake Gaines up so early). I grab Jack by the collar so that he doesn’t start stirring around and waking up Gaines. It’s happened before and it does not endear Jack to my heart. I will not be sad if Jack’s hearing fades a little as he gets older. That dog hears EVERYTHING.
5:01-5:45- I half-sleep with Jack’s collar in my hand knowing that if I dare to let it go, he’ll shake and the collar jingling will wake up Gaines or he’ll decide that he needs a drink of water and proceed to slurp water from his bowl as loudly as he can or he’ll hear Beau getting dressed and bark at the “intruder”.
5:45-Gaines wakes up and I remember that I normally shower at night when I have the boys by myself in the mornings but since Beau was home last night, I totally didn’t think about it. Awesome. I figure if I have to shower, we might as well get the day started so I get Gaines out of the bed. Reed is still asleep.
5:47-I’m making Reed and Gaines’ breakfast with Gaines screaming at me because I’m not holding him. Gaines gets a few choice words from me on what will happen if he wakes up his brother. He doesn’t care and continues screaming…not crying…screaming.
5:49- Reed wakes up and proudly tells me that his pull-up is dry. Its not.
5:52- The three of us sit down for breakfast. I give Gaines a peanut butter cracker. He throws it on the floor to Jack. I tell him he’s not getting anymore (he’s been on a breakfast strike lately but Kristin usually gets him to eat it later in the mornings so I know he’ll just eat it later and don’t feel too bad about taking it away).
5:57- Reed says, “I gotta go poop”. Awesome. There is more to that story that I will not go into but suffice it to say there was more to it. Somehow, on his way to the bathroom, Reed locks himself in the laundry room. Not sure how that happened.
6:00 or so I get in the shower. I have to lock Gaines in the bathroom with me because he cannot be trusted to roam the house alone. He’s not a fan of this and gets between the shower curtain and clear shower liner and screams at me to let me know that he is less than pleased with the arrangement.
6:10-Jack pushes the door open (the door doesn’t exactly latch or lock) and comes in and somehow shuts he and Gaines in the bathroom together. There is some commotion going on out there and 2 seconds later, Jack jumps in the shower. 4 seconds later he realizes he doesn’t like water and that I didn’t exactly welcome him in and tries to get out but cannot get much traction on the enamel tub. Plus Gaines is standing right where he is trying to get out. You can see Jack’s mind turning trying to figure out his plan but he eventually gets out and manages to stay out of Gaines’ reach.
6:20-I get out of the shower and hear Reed tell me he is done with his breakfast and needs his hands washed. He’s on a peanut butter bread kick for breakfast right now which is great but a little (or a lot) messy. Reed likes to eat the center of the bread first and ends up with peanut butter all over his face. I go to the kitchen to clean him up and see that he has brought his plate to the kitchen (which is his new responsibility). I’m not really sure why, but his plate is on the counter and the crust from his bread that he decided not to eat, is on the counter beside the plate. I roll my eyes and clean up the breakfast mess.
6:30-I’m trying to put makeup on and have two little helpers in the bathroom with me. I beg Reed to go play cars in his room with Gaines because by this point, I’m a little overwhelmed. I get overwhelmed easily and these two at my feet are stressing me out. Oh, somewhere in there Reed locks himself in the laundry room again. Anyway, Reed tells me he wants to play trucks. I say great. Go do it. He goes in the den and proceeds to throw every toy he has out of the toy basket. I go to the den and tell him to clean it up. He doesn’t and I don’t have the energy to fight it so I take him and Gaines to his room to play with the blocks. This plan works and I think have about 5 minutes to put on make-up in peace but Jack in knocking his water bowl around which means he is out and wants more water.
6:40-Reed runs to the bathroom to show me something. An Easter egg that he found. Cool. He runs back.
6:42-“Mom! Jack pooped in Gaines’ room!”
6:43-Poop cleaned up…I’m drying my hair.
57 seconds later (I know because I counted to see how long it would take Gaines to get across the house once he heard the hair dryer) I hear Gaines screaming because he’s run out of cord for the 187th time that morning. I find him in the dining room with his little face stretched backwards like he got a really bad face lift or something. I get him straightened out and my hair dried and fixed with my two little helpers back in the bathroom.
Somewhere in there Reed pulls every couch cushion off the couch. He does this every morning and every afternoon like it’s his job. I’m guessing it’s a boy thing but its super annoying. Nothing makes your house look neat and clean like couch cushions (not just throw pillows) strewn every where. I tell him to put them back on. He tells me to put the big ones on and he’ll do the little ones. That the big ones are “too big of a job for him”. I tell him if he can get them down he can put them back on (I’m so mean). I walk off to his protests of it being too big of a job for him and when I turn the hairdryer off, I hear him say, “This is too big of a job for me Gaines”.
6:58-I decide that Gaines is irritable because he’s hungry and I decide to give him he medicines and fix a bottle for him to feed himself…he prefers to have you hold his bottle so that he can twizzle his hair (I’ve been telling y’all…the world revolves around Gaines) but there is just no time for that this morning. He is not so impressed with this decision either and lets me know it. I tell him fine, he can wait until Kristin gets there at 7. We always try and get her to come in early when it’s just one of us in the mornings.
7:oo or so Kristin arrives and takes over Gaines. I brush Reed’s teeth, wash his face, get him dressed for school and tell him to put on his crocs. As I say it I remember that one croc was missing last night so I tell him to go find it. He tells me he’ll just wear his flip flops. I hate Reed’s flip flops. I don’t know why…I just do. Might have something to do with the fact that he likes to wear the strap that is supposed to go around his heel, over his foot like a third strap…it looks real cool. I don’t have the energy to fight it and I really don’t have time to search for a croc so he wears his flip flops.
7:10-I send Reed to hang out with Kristin and Gaines in the den (which still has couch cushions and toys strewn around) while I finish getting ready. A minute later I hear Kristin tell Reed that she’ll pickup the big ones and he can do the little ones. Couch cushions. Little weasel got out of his “big job”. Another minute or two later I hear Reed say, “Ms. Fristin, can you put those trucks in the basket”. I intervene on that one and tell him to do it himself. He does.
7:22-We have it all together and walk out of the door. I’m worn out and have barely started the day.

Love to all,

Brittany

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pulmonology Update

Ok…I haven’t had a ton of time lately but here is a quick post about Gaines’ pulmonology appointment this past Monday. I think I’ll do it in bullets. Like a list. I love a good list.

-We got permission to turn Gaines' oxygen down to a quarter of a liter. He seems to be doing great on it so far. His sats have been great and we even see 100 (perfect) from time to time. He’s been breathing a little harder than normal but that is to be expected until he gets used to this. My only slight concern is that he spit up last night (his reflux tends to flare up when he’s working harder to breathe) and he hasn’t been super excited about taking his bottles. I’m hoping that gets better as he gets more used to less oxygen. We are trying to take it easy with him on the eating but you all know how important weight gain is for his lung health so we do still want him eating well. It would make no sense for him to be on less oxygen if he is taking in less calories and burning more calories to breathe. I’ll keep you posted on this but I THINK he’s doing pretty well on a quarter liter.
-Weight gain-18 lbs 12 oz. AWESOME. So proud of Gaines. The doctor and nutritionist were very happy as well. The doctor even said that he was starting to worry about Gaines’ weight but not anymore. Yay! Now we just need to keep it up. His new goal is 1000 calories a day. That is 83 cheese puffs. Kidding. It is actually 83 cheese puffs but 720 calories a day come from his pediasure. He eats peanut butter now so that is a big help in getting him healthy fats/calories. I just don’t feel right dumping melted butter on everything he eats. I’m afraid he’ll have a heart attack at age 8.
-Hernia Surgery-Not looking forward to this one but I am looking forward to putting it behind us. Its been hanging over our heads forever now so I’m ready to mark it off the list. I am TERRIFIED to have Gaines put under anesthesia but I know it has to happen at some point. His lung doctor assures me that he is ready (and I’ve threatened him with his life on this) and the urologist thinks we run a risk of something called constriction (I might be making that word up but something along those lines where the intestines would be stuck down there). Not good…SO, we’ll be doing that in a few weeks. I’ll keep you posted. It will be mid-September so we do still have a little while.
-No medicine changes but the doctor remarked how small the doses are now compared to Gaines’ size so I take that as a good thing.

I think that is about it medically.

Gaines has a pretty good bruise on his forehead and a busted lip but I take those as good things. He’s learning to come down the brick stairs in our den and loves to climb on anything he can. Reed kept a bruise on his head about this age.

Reed is still pretty sweet although he did get sent to timeout yesterday for hitting me with a golf club. Thanks mom…those were a great idea. He did a "candid ball" off the diving board yesterday and also helped me put the "sheeps" on his bed.

Love my two little boys!

Love to all,

Brittany

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Haircuts

Both boys got haircuts today. Not a big deal except this was Gaines' 1st haircut. Below are some before and after pictures. There is also a video posted below of Reed playing his keyboard...he calls it "putting on a show".


This is Gaines before the haircut (notice the curls).





The two pictures beloware after the haircut. He looks so much older.







Reed putting on a show.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back To Reality

Beau and I left last Thursday headed for Texas for the wedding of a close friend of his that I've grown to love. We had a wonderful time and had a nice break from home. Three mornings of sleeping late, meals where you can have an actual conversation, reading magazines by the pool, exploring a fun city, shopping without a purpose...so nice. Obviously I was super excited to see my boys Sunday afternoon but the breaks from reality are not lost on me. I appreciate every moment. A huge thanks to my parents who came to Montgomery and kept the boys while we were away. From what I understand, Reed was an angel and Gaines was Gaines...a handful....a precious and loving handful, but a handful nonetheless. He's just non-stop and "spunky".


I had the boys to myself tonight while Beau was working and it was so neat to watch them with each other. Reed would be playing with something and Gaines would be right there beside him trying to get into whatever it was. I go back and forth on trying to teach Reed to share and trying to teach Gaines that he cannot have everything he wants the minute he wants it.

And I tell you...Gaines has gotten himself a little attitude lately. He is as pleasant as can be as long as he's doing what he wants but if you try and keep him away from a puzzle Reed is working on or out of the dishwasher or whatever, he starts these sort of convulsing fits. I have to just lay him gently on the floor and walk away. I guess that's the best thing to do about them at this point.

He's a pretty determined little fellow too. Don't think if you tell him no one time that it's going to work. He'll try something 100 times. I can't decide if this little streak he's on lately is from no real structure in his day (ie, the world revolves around Gaines), if its a second child thing, or if Reed was the same way and I've just forgotten that they grow out of it. I'm hoping its the latter.

Other than all of that, Gaines is doing awesome. He is so fun lately and has the biggest smile. He'll come crawling around the corner and get this huge grin on his face when he sees you. He gives you the biggest hug everytime you pick him up. He plays so well and I can see him kind of transitioning from baby to a little more on Reed's playing field. He jabbers and talks a good bit. We get a lot of "Jack" and "Bye"...some "Dada"...still no "Mama". I feel like I hear him repeating lots of words but unless I hear it consistently I don't count it. Like, I think I hear something similar to bottle sometimes and I swear he said "Out" when he was ready to get out of the tub tonight.

Reed has been pretty angelic lately. I swear he's such a good boy. I get frustrated with him from time to time but all in all...he's just a good child. Or maybe that's just compared to the handful Gaines has been lately...hmm...I'll have to think on that. My poor children...they get such a bad wrap on here sometimes. Truth be told, any less than positive attitude or stubborness or I'm going to throw a fit because I can't have my own way...can be directly attributed to me. At least they get it honest.

Last night Reed and I were doing a puzzle and he said, "Give me a hamp, Mama". Of course I ask, "What's a hamp?" "A hamp. Daddy always give me a hamp". I'm racking my brain trying to figure out what I'm not connecting and it finally occurs to me...a HINT...daddy always gives him a HINT. It is so funny to me the way they misunderstand words and totally think they are saying the correct thing. Beau and I were both confused the other day when Reed kept asking for his "Nims"...what in the world are his nims? Apparently nims are an alternate pronunciation of mittens. And don't even ask what he wanted with mittens in July.

I guess that's about it for now. No real structure or point but I guess that's pretty much my style these days. We've had a crazy June and July and I am so looking forward to a non-eventful August where we can get back to real life.

Love to all,

Brittany

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gaines Update and Two Funnies (to their mama anyway)

Poor Beau. All that typing and only one little comment. If you haven’t read Beau’s post below about our crazy weekend, you should its pretty funny. I just wanted to post a quick update about the Gaineser. He gets called Gaineser fairly regularly these days. Hopefully that won’t stick but I think it kind of makes him sound larger than life…which he kind of is…he definitely thinks he is anyway.

Sorry…tangent. I took both boys to the doctor Monday morning and out of 4 ears, we had two infected and two full of fluid. Two prescriptions and two co-pays later, I think the boys are on the mend. Gaines actually slept until 6:30 this morning. Awesome. As awesome as that news is, this is the real awesome news and the reason for this quick post: Gaines weighed 18 lbs 9 oz at the doctor Monday. Granted he had on clothes and a dry diaper but those cannot weigh that much…maybe an ounce each? At his last weigh in at the end of June, he was 17 lbs 6 oz (naked). That’s more than a pound in less than a month. YAY! He is still not on the growth chart scale (even for his adjusted age of 1 year) but hopefully, if this keeps up, he’ll be in the 3rd percentile by his next official weigh in August 2. Thank you for all of your weight gain prayers and please keep them up! It was such a relief and (takes some pressure off) to see some good improvement.

I’ll try and get back to regular posting. Summer has just been so busy but I think August brings us a little break.

Oh, and to answer the two comment questions…Beau went to high school in Montgomery, his parents moved to Birmingham after he graduated. And we have no idea when Gaines will get off the oxygen. I’d hoped by now but I think the weight slump was slowing him down. I HOPE to get the ok to go to a ¼ liter at his next appointment. I think he can handle it. The doctor’s plan has been for him to get off diuretics first and then worry about oxygen but I hope that he and I can have a real heart to heart about that. I know that I’m not a pulmonologist and I do not want to risk Gaines’ health in any way but I feel like the oxygen could be holding him back in other areas like socialization, sleeping issues (he STILL sleeps in our room), some discipline things, etc.…I could be way off but, we’ll just see what we work out. Its worth a conversation to me.

Oh, and can I please just tell you something kind of funny? I try to be patient and understanding when people ask about Gaines’ oxygen, especially when it’s another child that just doesn’t understand (I have no patience for any adult that asks things like “What’s wrong with him?” That’s a good way to get punched in the face, FYI. Questions are fine, “What’s wrong with him?” is not…sorry, just had to get that off my chest). I don’t love all the questions because really, no one wants their child to be any different than any other, but I’d rather people ask so they can be informed instead of ignorant (can you tell this is a touch subject for me?). Kids are especially curious and the other day at the pool, one little boy asked, “Does that help him swim?” I had to laugh. It was just too funny to me.

One last funny thing, I’ve always told Reed how cute his little hiney is and lately he’s actually started listening. Last night I was giving Gaines a bath and Reed was taking his clothes off to get ready for his turn and he came in the bathroom and said, “Hey mama…I got a prize for you!” He then turned around and said, “Cute hiney! Cute hiney!” I just loved that his prize for me was his cute hiney.

Love to all,

Brittany

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Perfect Weekend

Brittany and I visited my family in Birmingham this past weekend. We visited her family in Andalusia a few weeks ago. The trip to Andalusia was the first time Gaines stayed any where overnight (other than a hospital). The trip to Andalusia a few weeks ago went unbelievably smooth...so we figured the trip to Birmingham would be the same. Boy were we wrong.

The trip to Birmingham started just after work on Friday afternoon. Brittany buckled both of the boys in their car seats as I loaded the car with bags, oxygen tanks, concentrators, etc. After getting everything in the car, I went back in to the house to turn on the alarm. After I set the alarm and as I was locking the front door, I heard Brittany yell "Gaines is throwing up". Great.

Brittany took Gaines in to the house to change his clothes and wipe him down while I proceeded to remove the car seat full of throw up from the car. After removing the car seat, I quickly cleaned the upholstery in the car and then switched the car seat from my car and put it into the car that was packed for Birmingham. About that time Brittany emerged from the house with a clean Gaines. We buckled Gaines in and were off to Birmingham...only 20 minutes behind schedule. Crisis averted.

Twenty minutes later we were just north of Montgomery when Reed stated he was hungry. The delay from earlier meant there was no way to make it to Birmingham for dinner so Brittany gave Reed some goldfish crackers. Gaines started to make noise as Reed was eating so my lovely wife thought "Gaines probably wants a goldfish cracker". I couldn't believe it either...she gave Gaines a cracker. And yes, with 70 miles left in our trip Gaines threw up again. In retrospect, we should have seen the signs from God and turned the car around at that very moment. But instead, we wiped Gaines down as best we could and continued our journey.

As soon as we arrived in Birmingham, my mother took Reed from the car while Brittany immediately took Gaines to the bath tub. My brother in law and step father were gracious enough to unload our bags, oxygen tanks, concentrators, etc., while I removed a second car seat full of throw up.

After getting everything in the house I went to make sure all oxygen tanks were properly stored and concentrators were working. As I sorted through all of our stuff, I thought "I wonder where the boys' bag is". I asked my brother in law where they put the big blue duffel bag. And yes, he said "What big blue duffel bag". Unbelievable...we left Gaines and Reed's bag 90 miles away in Montgomery. We had no PJ's, no clothes, no tooth brush, and then it hit me...no SAT monitor for Gaines.

For those of you who don't understand the severity of this situation, let me explain. Gaines tends to move in his sleep and sometimes wiggles the oxygen prongs out of his nose. His SAT monitor measures the oxygen saturation levels (SATS) in his blood. When he wiggles the prongs out of his nose, his SATS drop and when they drop below a certain level his monitor starts beeping. The beeping wakes Brittany and me up and we simply put the prongs back in his nose. Thus, no SAT monitor means no way of knowing if his prongs are in his nose throughout the night. So you see the predicament...we must have a SAT monitor.

We considered everything. We called our home health supplier in Montgomery to see if they had a "sister" company in Birmingham that could loan us a SAT monitor. No such luck. We called home health companies in Birmingham and explained our situation...no luck. We called Children's Hospital in Birmingham and explained the situation. The hospital suggested we call a home health company. Long story short, after various phone calls and various favors we were loaned a SAT monitor from the NICU of Brookwood Hospital.

After the trip to the Brookwood Hospital NICU to get the SAT monitor, I arrived back at my parents house around 10 PM Friday night. We hooked up the SAT monitor and immediately went to bed. We quickly discovered the SAT monitor we were given was extremely sensitive. Every time Gaines rolled over the monitor would lose its "reading" and the alarm would go off. Brittany and I got a terrible nights sleep.

Saturday was a new day and would surely be better, or so we thought. My mother and Brittany went shopping Saturday morning to buy the boys clothes (remember we left their bag in Montgomery). After shopping, we all met for lunch. Of course, we forgot to bring Gaines anything for lunch. Luckily, Brittany found some snacks in the bottom of his bag. Believe it or not, lunch was pleasant.

After lunch we took Reed and Gaines to visit my grandmother. Both boys had a great time...there are finches at my grandmother's nursing home. They loved watching the birds. Soon it was time to go and we took the boys to their cousin's 3-year old birthday party. The party was at a church gym. The kids roller skated and there was a blow up "jumpie". Everybody was having a great time when Gaines threw up. Yes, that's the 3rd of the weekend if you're keeping count. Right in the middle of the birthday party.

Long story short, we finished the birthday party, ate dinner, and were getting the boys ready for bed. After putting Gaines to sleep, I proceeded to hook up the SAT monitor. his SAT's were in the 70's. Not good. Brittany and I quickly tried everything we could think of. We switched his probe, switched the oxygen line, turned up his oxygen. Nothing worked. As a last resort before taking Gaines to a Birmingham hospital, we switched him from his concentrator to an oxygen tank. As soon as Gaines was put on the tank, his SATS were in the high 90's. Of course, a fitting end to a wonderful weekend...Gaines' concentrator was broken.

Luckily we had enough oxygen tanks to make it through Saturday night and to get home on Sunday morning. Once we were home, normalcy began to set in. Thank goodness the weekend was over.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that both boys were sick all weekend and we are taking them to the doctor first thing Monday morning.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

One Year Ago...

Sorry for the hiatus. I've been out of town. I had a conference in Perdido that I had to be at for a few days and once I got back...well, I really wasn't in the mood for blogging...just wanted to soak up my family. We've had quite a few developments in the last several days so I think I'll post them in a list format.

1. Gaines now has his own room. He's had his own room all along but he couldn't reach his room as his concentrator had been set up and he can't really sleep in there yet so his home base was our den. Like, his clothes and all his belongings had been stored in various hiding places in the den for almost a year so I'm pretty pumped to have all his stuff where it belongs. We did some maneuvering and now Gaines can access his own room. He can't sleep in there yet but we are actively trying to find a solution to that. I'm thinking it will involve a video baby monitor rigged up so that we can see his sat monitor. If any of you have any thoughts on video baby monitors...please let me know. They are kind of expensive and I want to make sure it will work before I actually buy one.

2. The Gaines is getting a little tough love these days on taking naps. Until the last week, he'd been held to fall asleep (naps only...he goes to bed at night well) and then he started not sleeping so great at night. Long story short, our pediatrician thinks he needs to learn to start putting himself to sleep so that he can put himself back to sleep at 4 a.m. (when he's been making up). Basically its the cry it out approach. Its not going so great at the moment...fingers crossed that if we are persistent it will pay off. He's taking little 30 and 45 minute naps and I know he not getting rested. I'm giving it another week and then we'll have to reconsider. I'm all for the tough love because Lord knows, Gaines could use a little discipline in his life but he needs to rest too. Thoughts on this one???

3. We are pretty much t.v. free at our house right now. Beau and I decided over the weekend to really cut back on it for the boys and ourselves. Reed now gets 30 minutes a day (Wonder Pets right before bed to help him wind down) and Beau and I are trying to cut back too. I like it. We actually spend time as a family...a novel concept, I know. Puzzles and books and dance parties...Reed turned on some music tonight and started dancing and wanted everyone to dance so I played along. Beau walked in right after we had done the "Go Reed, Go Reed, Go, Go, Go Reed" and the whole "Go Mama" bit so we started up with "Go Daddy, Go Daddy"...expecting Beau to join in. I wish you could have seen the look on his face. He just froze and stared at us. I know its not funny to read but it was hilarious. There was no convincing Beau to take his turn in the spotlight.

4. Did you see the sunglasses Gaines was wearing in the last post? Well, Reed fell in love with them and wore them to school every day for a week. He even told me that "glasses make you cool". Two days ago they were in the floor and I stepped on them and broke them. I put them away and prayed that he would forgot about them. That lasted until our next trip outside when he asked for his "glasses". I had to tell him they were broken and there was a whole conversation that went something like this:
R-Did I break them?
Me-I don't know...they are just broken.
R-I broke them.
Me-No you didn't baby...
R-Who broke them?
Me-It doesn't matter who broke them...they just broke.
R-I broke them (sad face here)
Me-No Reed, mama stepped on them and broke them on accident. Maybe you and I can go buy you a new pair.
R-But I only want my blue ones...
Knife in my heart. I felt terrible.

5. Reed loves baseball and got a new t-ball set this weekend. I don't know who was more excited, Beau or Reed. I know I'm his mother so I'm biased but he's really pretty good.

6. Also, can you believe that one year ago yesterday we got the phone call that Gaines was getting transferred home. That was such a good day. I cannot even tell you the weight that was lifted off of me that afternoon. I felt physically lighter. Also, tomorrow is the day that Gaines should be a year old. He's doing so awesome right now. He pushed a push toy across his room today. He's been walking on furniture sideways for a while now but this is actual one foot in front of the other. I cannot tell y'all how proud I am of that boy.

7. Gaines went to church for the first time this weekend. Technically his second time if you count his baby dedication but his first time in the nursery while we went to church and Sunday School. Yay!

Ok...I think that's about it. I'm going to try and get my assistant to post pictures soon. I'll be better about the blogging but I'm tired now. Peace out.

Brittany