Monday, March 29, 2010

Return to Aggieland

Matt and I got a little bit of much needed Matt and Jennifer time; it’s nice to be Matt & Jennifer and not daddy and mommy just for a little while. We meet up with friends on Saturday at A&M to relive the “glory days”. This year has been a year full of ups and downs, but our family and friends have helped us through it.
We met up with my friends that I met in the dorm in 1997, yes, 13 years ago. There were 9 of us girls that made friends that freshman year, and we are friends to this day. Yes, friendships have changed over the years, but they all remain my friends. We were lucky to get 6 our the 9 of us, missing one that just had a baby, one that had to work a track meet, and the other is in the middle of moving.

It was a beautiful day in College Station. We met up for lunch at Fitzwilly’s .. yum, for some burgers and drinks, the off to the famous Dixie Chicken. We spent the afternoon looking at all the old places we lived and remembering good old times. Matt and I walked on the campus a little and went by the dorm I lived in freshman year. We went inside the common living area (it was 2 girls dorms and two boys dorms connected together). The kids there looked SO YOUNG! Hard to believe we were once that young!

We met up with the group for a nice dinner, and of course more drinks. At this point, it’s 6pm and I have not stopped drinking since noon. Can’t remember the last time I did that! Then off again to Northgate. We hung out at a really cool rooftop bar, then off to the Dry Bean for some shots and Flaming Dr. Peppers, the to the Chicken for a few hands of 42, then to Mad Hatters, then to a new bar, can’t remember the name (guess it was the drinks and shots)!

At 12:30pm, we had reached our limit and caught the cab ride back to the hotel. Though it was still early, we got there really early (because we are old)! Total that day we spent 10 hours at Northgate! A lot harder to do at 30 than 20!

Sunday we got up, hung over, hit Whataburger at 8:30am for some greasy hamburgers to soak what alcohol was left in our system. We picked up the kids at Matt’s parents and headed home. We were lucky that Matt’s parents wore out the kids and they slept for almost two hours, so we got to take much needed hangover naps as well.

Katherine and Colin had a great time while we were away. They went to their cousin’s softball game and went to the park. Katherine asked Matt when we picked them up. Why did you leave us?, he asked if she had fun, she said yes, she just wanted to know why we weren’t there. Saturday before we got to Matt’s parents she started getting upset that we were going to leave, when Matt’s mom mentioned watching Morgan play softball, Katherine turned to me and said “It’s okay Mommy, you and Dad need to go now!” As she is pushing me out the door.

It was a great weekend with friends! A&M will always be special in my heart. It’s not just where I lived out my college days, but where I met my friends, and where I met Matt. To me that town represents the amazing life I have with my husband and my kids, without being there, I wouldn’t be here where I belong.
Where Matt and I had our first kiss.. Bottle Cap Alley.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Through Katherine's Eyes

Katherine got ahold of my old camera, and these are the pictures I found on it. Guess who her favorite subject is!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Happened to Spring?

This weekend we got yet another cold front that brought us rain, good thing were weren’t in Dallas, they got SNOW in MID- MARCH!
So we went from last weekend getting sunburn to this weekend staying in doors mostly.

Early Saturday morning, Colin woke up, so we put him in bed with us. He was crawling around looking for a pillow and smashed his head into my ear. I had to go to the doctor, my ear is swollen on the inside and I have to use drops to help reduce the swelling. Guess he hit me just in the right spot.
Saturday we ran some errands before the rain hit. We went to Party City to get decorations for Colin’s 1st Birthday! Katherine LOVES that place. So many things to try on, play with, and get into! She loved the Luau section, so at some point we have to throw a luau party. We even came home with some leas!

Saturday night Matt made homemade lasagna AND Blackberry Cobbler! Yummy! For Christmas we got the Pioneer Woman cookbook and have had a lot of fun trying out the recipes. Katherine didn’t want to try the blackberry cobbler, but she did eat ½ a pint of the left over blackberries, so I guess that’s better than eating the cake!

Sunday we meet up with Katherine’s two friends and their moms at the indoor moonwalk place. The girls had a blast! Chasing after each other, on & off the bouncies, down the slides. Colin and I got tired watching her. There is a play area for babies, so Colin got to get down and play with some kids too. Colin was in there pushing around a play shopping cart. One guy, who had humongous twins (8 moths old and 21 pounds each), told me how amazed he was with how well Colin was walking and pushing the cart around. He said to me "What amazing leg strength he has for a baby his age, he's about 7 months right?" My reply "Thank you, but he will be a year old in two weeks, he's just a little small for his age" Guy "Oh, well that's okay he’s small".
At that point I just smiled, I think he just didn't know what else to say, but why was he telling me it's okay that Colin is small?. I think he was just trying to get his foot out of his mouth ;)

Colin still had an ear infection when we went to the doctor last week. We are on the final trial of a new antibiotic, then we will have to see about getting tubes in his ears. As of yesterday, Colin is off propanolal, it’s a beta blocker that helps regulate heartbeats. After his first surgery (when he was 2 weeks old), Colin had an episode of his heart rate getting really fast, so they put him on propanolol. Colin is now almost a year and has not had an episode since then. They have weaned his doses down, now we are going to go without it for 2 weeks then at his next check-up they will determine if he really needs it.
He is back on reflux, but a very, very low dose. When we stopped it completely he spit up a few times and was fighting the bottle. So we are giving him less than half of what he used to take. He is eating so well, we will just continue for another month, and try to wean him off of it some more.

Also HAPPY 1st Birthday to Elle. Elle and Colin had their first heart surgeries on the same day and their second was one week apart! She has done so well over the past year. She is such a blessing and a happy baby!

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Rodeo Time!

Saturday we got up early and headed out to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Katherine was so excited about all week long, everyday she woke up and asked if today was the day we are going to the rodeo, when answered not yet, she would say “Awww man!”. But Saturday, I got to say yes, and she ran downstairs, shouting “Today is the rodeo!” When we parked, Katherine told Colin that he was here last year, but he was in mommy’s belly. I enjoyed myself a lot more walking around this year since last year I was 9 months pregnant.

Katherine and Colin loved looking at all the animals. Both of them were in sensory overload in the beginning. They saw chickens, goats, cows, pigs, baby chicks, bunnies, and many more. They both “rode” on a tractor. With all that excitement, by the time we finished with the animals and looked at some of the shops, Colin was asleep in his stroller.

Katherine got to enjoy all the tasty goodies at the rodeo, Dipping Dots, Cotton Candy, Soft Pretzels, French Fries, but she wouldn’t try to funnel cake.. that’s okay more for me! She was eying my Yard Margarita, but she was shot down quickly!

Katherine’s favorite part was the carnival of course, Colin enjoyed watching Katherine ride the rides and play games. Katherine & I did the race slide; she went into a jungle gym, rode the Aladdin ride and the pirate ship that she rode last year. Katherine saw a dragon roll coaster and had to go on it. I asked her is she was sure, and if she wanted me to ride with her. Her reply, “No mom, I am a big girl, I rode all the rest by myself, I can do this. The first lap she was laughing, the second lap, she looked a little more serious, the 3rd lap, she screamed at the guy,” Please let me off, I want to get off NOW!”, which led to the 4th lap in tears! But she was fine when she got off. She said it was too scary for her!

Katherine and Matt had fun playing the carnival games and we came away with plenty of stuffed animals for the kids to play with. She was very upset when it was time to go, but after that long day, she was asleep by the time we left the parking lot!

Katherine and I got sunburned from being out there; it was such a pretty day. She almost made 4 years without a sunburn. Katherine’s shirt that day said “I love sunny days”, which was very true, even if they give us sunburns!

Sunday was beautiful again, so Matt and I did yard work while the kids went and played at my parents. They have a heated pool where they are living, so Katherine got to go swimming for the first time this spring.

It was a great weekend and I so happy to see winter FINALLY gone!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Colin's 1st year - His story of HLHS

This is long, sorry, I want to have written record of this.
With Colin’s 1st Birthday coming up in three weeks, I have been reflecting on the last year. How one year ago, we had no idea what was in store for us. I kept a pretty accurate record of Colin’s medical journey, though I might be missing a check up here and there. Though his condition does not define who he is, it has definitely shaped his life and the lives around him. For HLHS, the first year is not an easy one. We had our ups and downs, high & lows, but we are all very blessed by the outcome.
In the beginning I wasn’t even sure how to talk about his diagnosis without breaking down and crying, but now I want everybody to know how truly amazing he is.

April 3, 2009 – Arrive at hospital at 6:30am for scheduled c-section. Colin born at 8:00am. He had fluid in his lungs, common for c-section, so he went to NICU for observation. Was told he would be back in our room in about 6 hours.
April 4th – Colin still in NICU, fluid out but was breathing fast. Told very common, some babies have to learn how to breathe when come out of womb. I remember being in the NICU looking at all those small babies, thinking we had it easy, Colin was just there to learn how to breathe. Those other babies are in need of so much more, I just had no idea.
April 5th – Still in NICU, breathing fast, hear murmur which is common, held for observation. We were told if he slows his breathing, we will be going home. Katherine visits her baby brother for the first time.
April 6th – Echo Done. Found out Colin has serve heart condition and will need surgery. Colin transferred to Texas Children’s by ambulance, Matt & I get discharged from hospital and met him over there. Colin admitted into NICU at TCH, they go over his surgery requirements and his condition. Told Colin will not survive unless he has these surgeries.
April 7th – April 12th – Colin in NICU at TCH awaiting heart surgery # 1. We spend our time sitting by his beside all day into the evening and spending the nights with Katherine. Katherine got a runny nose and was not allowed to see Colin before his surgery.
April 13th – Colin had Norwood procedure, in surgery 10 hours, one week after being diagnosed. We said goodbye to him at 7:30am and got to see him at 8:00pm. What a long day!
April 14th – April 24th – Cardiac ICU, Colin had to stay a little longer. They had to go back in his chest and drain excess fluid out. Colin has many “roommates” over this time.
April 25th – Released out of Cardiac ICU into Step – down care. Moved to 15th floor into our own room. First time Katherine gets to see her little brother since he was transferred to Texas Children’s.
April 26th – May 11th – In our own room working on healing from surgery, feeding skills, and gaining weight. Must be able to eat & gain weight before released. Colin turns 1 month old.
May 12th – Released from hospital – FIRST DAY HOME. We now have to record everything Colin drinks in mls, record how much we think each spit up is (mls), weigh him and take his pulse ox everyday. We have to call the hospital if his pulse ox is below 75 or if he does not gain weight in 3 days. Colin came home with 5 medications (lasix, reflux, propanolol, enapril, and aspirin) that have to be given multiple times around the clock, even in the middle of the night. Katherine very happy to have her brother home.
May 15th – First visit to Single Ventricle Clinic at TCH
June 12th – June 14th – Hospital Stay due to reflux and low O2 sats
June 26th – Single Ventricle Clinic
July 6th – Maternity leave ends, Jennifer back to work. My mom watches Colin while off for summer break.
July 17th – Single Ventricle Clinic
July 31st - Single Ventricle Clinic
August 3rd – MRI, Colin put under anesthesia. Colin turns 4 months old.
August 6th – 2nd surgery, Bi-directional Glenn scheduled for Sept. 15.
August 14th - Single Ventricle Clinic
August 17th – My mom goes back to work, watching Colin will now be split between the grandpas’s with help from the grandma’s on certain days
August 25th – Surgery moved to Sept. 14
September 2nd – Meeting with Dr. Heinle, Colin’s surgeon. Went over expectations of the surgery, recovery, and life after the Glenn.
September 8th - Single Ventricle Clinic
September 12th – Packing for hospital, Colin’s surgery moved again, now to September 17th. We felt blessed though, Colin was pushed back for a child they didn’t think would survive but Colin was doing well enough to get bumped.
September 16th – Admit into hospital, pre-surgical work. Jennifer and Matt off work for surgery. Katherine visits Colin that night to give him good luck kisses
September 17th – Colin’s Bi-Directional Glenn. Said our goodbyes at 9:00am and got to see him about 3:00pm. PaPa Wayne’s birthday.
September 18th – Sept. 20 - Cardiac ICU – Colin had really bad headaches and was only happy if being held, which was no problem for us, we missed holding him.
September 21st – Moved to 15th Floor. Matt had to go back to work.
September 22nd & 23rd – Working on feeding and gaining weight.
September 24th – Released from hospital, went home. Uncle Russell’s birthday. Sent home with 5 medications.
September 29th – Jennifer back to work, PaPa daycare continues.
October 6th – Single Ventricle Clinic – Stitches out.
November 5th – Cardiology Appointment, 1st time with his own cardiologist and not the Single ventricle clinic. Had ECHO, Chest X-Ray, and EKG. No more weighting or taking O2 everyday
November 11th – RSV Shot
December 9th – GI Appointment – To determine if Colin’s serve spitting up was just reflux or a GI issue, ruled reflux.
December 17th – Admitted into ER at 12:30am for croup. Colin was wheezing and laboring to breathe, sats went from 90 to 80. Held 6 hours for observation, given a steroid shot.
December 21st – RSV shot
December 31st – Cardiology appointment
January 22nd – Meeting with occupational therapy to work on solid foods and gag reflex
January 27th – RSV shot and ear infection #1
February 8th – End of PaPa daycare, started his first day of real daycare
February 10th – High fever, ear infection back
March 3rd – RSV shot, ear infection still there, given 3rd dose of antibiotics. Colin turns 11 months old.
March 8th – Colin off of reflux medicine. Will also be ending propanol next week, so we will be down to two medications. Enaipril in the morning & evening and ½ tablet baby aspirin in evening.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Princess Ariel Party

Saturday we went to Katherine’s friend, Rylie’s birthday party. It was the social event her class has talked about for a month now! For a long time all Katherine talked about was her friend Jessica, now Katherine’s conversations have been consumed by Rylie. Rylie’s mom commented at the party how she is surprised they are so close because they are both really strong personalities, they boss each other around.
The party was a lot fun. Katherine and Rylie were inseparable. They had a moonwalk, pizza, princess Ariel cake, ice cream, and Rylie’s mom dressed up as Ariel.
Colin had lots of fun too! He went to anybody who wanted to hold him and played with one of his classmates there. It was his social debut!
The parents at school have been so nice and caring over the past year with Colin offering help with Katherine, so it was so nice for them all to get to meet and hold Colin.
Last night Katherine started talking about HER birthday and she was going to have an Ariel party too, that Ariel is now her favorite instead of sleeping beauty, and that Rylie’s mom could come as Ariel.. I will let her know Katherine.
Yesterday I could hear giggling from the front room. Found Katherine and Colin in Mocha's crate.
Colin eating a muffin!

Colin having a conversation with Kobe, my parents dog.

Everybody needs a naked butt picture!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Colin turns 11 months old!

Colin turned 11 months this week! We celebrated by getting his monthly RSV shot and finding out he still has an ear infection!
I can’t believe he is almost a year old. A year ago, I was VERY pregnant and ready to meet Colin. We knew nothing of what HLHS and CHD meant. The past 11 months have been a blessing and we are so proud of Colin and the progress he has made!
- Weighs 18.5 pounds (10%)
- Height 27 ¼ inches
- Has 4 teeth, 2 front bottom and 2 front top
- Drinks his bottles in 10 minutes .. YEAH!!!!!
- Has been eating table food !!!!! His daycare has been working hard with Colin on trying to catch him up to rest of the class on eating. They can’t believe the progress he has made in two weeks. He so far has ate mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, turkey, ham, yogurt, Cheetos (which he stole from everyone else’s high chairs!), and bananas.
- Still gags a little with real food, but is getting better about it!
- Can walk while holding onto furniture, can push chairs and stools across the floor by walking behind them.
- Says Mama, Dada, ba, la, da, and lots of interesting sounds
- Can stand a few seconds unassisted then falls on butt
- Understands no, doesn’t always listen but will stop smile and continue on

Time flies by. Colin will be one next month and Katherine is turning 4 in June!
Katherine & Colin at 10 months old, if Katherine wasn't wearning pink, she could pass for Colin!

Also please keep baby Hope in your thoughts and prayers as she is having her Glenn surgery on Monday March 8.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring Cleaning, Kind of Walking, & Tummy Bug

Our goal this weekend was Spring Cleaning! We cleaned out junk drawers. We cleaned out our closets, I am proud to say I got rid of a lot of clothes that were too big! I am back down to my pre-Colin weight, which was less that pre-Katherine. Our big project was weeding the back yard that was OVERTAKEN by weeds! Of course in the 3 freezes, I lost a lot of plants, but the weeds had remained. Our poor backyard was VERY ignored last year with everything going on with Colin, we maintained our front yard, but the back yard suffered a great deal. This was just stage one of getting the backyard nice again. Colin hung out in his play pen while we pulled weeds.
Saturday we went out for lunch, went to the park, and went out for ice cream. We brought down Katherine’s old toy that you can walk behind. Colin loved it; he grabbed on and started walking. He did really well; he just needs more balance, once he can figure that out, he will be off on his own.

As a child, I loved to swing and sing. I think Katherine takes after me!

Saturday night, Katherine wouldn’t eat dinner, then came down with a tummy bug and got sick all over our bed (of course) and all on the floor. Poor kid, but she did so well. Really didn’t cry or fuss about it. Would throw up then continue playing. Luckily Sunday she was over it.

Sunday we picked more weeds, went shopping, and my parents took Katherine to the park for a little while. Colin and I took advantage of her time away and took naps!
Colin was caught already up on stair step #1, going for #2, we will be putting all the gates up now!!!!!!!!!