Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter

Easter has taken on a more special meaning for me in the last few years. There for awhile, I lost some of my faith. Through college, I had the carefree days and looking at other philosophies than Christianity. Though I always believed in God and Heaven, I doubted other aspects of religion. As I got older and became a mother, I felt something was missing, I realized I lost the faith that helped guide me. After Colin was born, I found my faith again, God was there to help shine the way through a very dark time.
I like the fact that Katherine and Colin go to a Christian based learning center. Katherine has come home telling us her bible stories. A few days before Easter, she told me Jesus was a jeb.. I asked you "You mean a Jew", she said "Yes that's what I said.. A jeb". Katherine told Matt and I the story of Holy Thursday, the Last Super, Good Friday, and Easter..for the most part she got the story right. I am very proud that she has taken an interest in learning about God and leading a better life. I am proud of the fact that she knows the real reason behind why we celebrate Easter. She also told me we must pray for all those who have less things than us. Her heart is really pure and I love that about her. The kids had so much fun dying eggs, hunting eggs (twice), and opening their Easter baskets. Colin really got into finding the eggs. Katherine was great at helping him find some and leaving the ones that were in plain sight for him. The Easter Bunny brought so much fun stuff like a bowling set and a ZuZu pet, and of course candy… which Colin has been obsessing about.. He even sneaked the stool over to the Easter Candy last night and was stuffing his face when I caught him. Colin looking guility after eating a marshmellow peep for breakfastAs much fun as Easter was this year, it was a tough one, the first one without my Grandma. Grandma loved Easter, she was a person of strong faith. I miss her very much. I was very close to my Grandma, talked with her almost every week. She was one of my biggest readers of my blog. As soon as I would post something, she always would send me an email about how much she enjoyed it. It was hard to call my grandpa's house on Easter knowing we were missing a very important person. I know he misses her so much, as we all do. I got the best present for Easter from my Aunt Marie. In the hospital, my Grandma had a blanket that stayed with her the whole time, every transfer, test, appointment she went to, the blanket went with her. My aunt took that blanket that kept Grandma warm and safe and turned it into pillows for all of us. I will ALWAYS treasure this special gift, a reminder of a beautiful soul.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Beach, Submarine, and Katherine scores

We had a great Easter weekend, we are very blessed. I will post Easter on it's own blog entry later this week. Friday we were off and took the kids down to Galveston with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew.

We went to Seawolf Park which houses the USS CAVALLA (WWII Submarine) and the USS STEWART (destroyer escort - one of only 3 in the world). We were able to go through the submarine and go on the top decks of the destroyer escort. The kids had fun exploring on the ships, lots of things to touch, climb on, and play with. They also had a playground that is right on the water, so the kids also enjoyed that. After the ships, we went and ate at our favorite burger place on the seawall. Then it was off the beach. The water was a little too cold, but it was a perfect day to sit on the beach and play in the sand. The kids did play on the shoreline for a little while, but Colin was getting a little cold, so we pulled them out of the water. The kids made sand castles, looked for shells, and even discovered jellyfish in the seaweed. It was a nice day to enjoy the sand & sun. The kids weren't ready to go when we left, but Colin was passed out in his seat after being in the car 5 minutes. Saturday Katherine scored a goal at her soccer game, in the RIGHT GOAL. She did really good, was even getting aggressive. She took the ball down from the middle of the field and scored all by herself, beating out two other girls from the other team. If we could just get her to concentrate like that all the time. She was so happy when she scored it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

She got a goal & annual company picnic

Katherine scored a goal this weekend in soccer.. It was in her own goal.. But hey that counts! She was "embarrassed" when she realized she scored in the wrong goal.. Silly girl. Katherine still isn't completely focused in the games, but still seems to be having fun.

Saturday afternoon, we went to my annual company family picnic. The kids had a blast with the petting zoo, moonwalk, picnic games, and of course the sno-cones. Katherine was upset when we left because she had made a new best friend (she makes one wherever we go). That night they were nice and wore out that Matt & I were able to rent a movie and watch the entire thing.

Katherine's new "thing" this week is that she wants to open a restaurant… an AGGIE restaurant. According to our head chef Katherine, it will serve mac & cheese, spaghetti, chicken on the bone (drumsticks), cheeseburgers, pecan and pumpkin pies, and a few other items. But no pizza.. Why I am not sure :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Colin's Norwood-versary

Yesterday two years ago, we put our faith and trust in God and an amazing medical team. We handed our 10 day old son over to an unknown faith and sat in a waiting room for 12 hours praying that we will receive good news at the end. Two years ago yesterday, Colin had his first open heart surgery, the Norwood. This is the first and the hardest surgery in the HLHS series. The survival rate is 80%, which may seem high, until you realize those 20% that don't make it are somebody's babies, they are sons and daughters to loving families. Since Colin was not diagnosed in utero, I was not prepared (though I don't think anyone really ever is) for the surgery or the aftermath of it all. When we finally got to see him that night, I could barley stand there and look at him. I just wanted to throw up in all honesty. It took time for me to adjust to the ICU life. Matt was much much stronger than me, I allowed him to be my rock because I needed him to be the glue that held us all together.

As much as that memory is etched in my mind, and as hard as it is to realize all we have been through… I actually forgot it was Colin's Norwood Anniversary until late last night. I thought I would always celebrate in our own way the milestones of surgeries, I was actually caught off guard last night when I remembered it was the 13th. How could I have not realized all day what day it was.

Then it hit me last night as I was laying in bed, a wonderful conclusion to why I was not focused on it. Colin is doing great, we are living in the now, he is happy & healthy. Don't get me wrong his Norwood Anniversary is a VERY VERY important date, but I think it's just a time to reflect on how well Colin is doing and how far he has come over the last two years. Sometimes I look at him and it doesn't seem real all the things he went through, as if it was a dream, or another lifetime. The Norwood seemed so long ago, I know we spent 6 weeks in the hospital, but now it's just a blur. I much rather focus on how much he loves Buzz Lightyear, pony rides, going outside, swinging, white powdered donuts, cuddles, playing hide-n-seek, cotton candy, and playing in the sprinkler. I much rather replace all the beginning memories with the ones we are making right now.

April 13th will always have a special place in my heart and as Colin grows up we will make sure he knows how hard he fought to come home from the hospital. But I am not going to focus on past surgeries, going to keep looking forward into the future. The pages are blank unless we write all over them. I think that's why I fill up our weekends sometimes, I feel like if we just hang out we are wasting a miracle that was given to us, the miracle of all 4 of us together, living and enjoying life as a family. We were given a "second" chance with Colin's surgeries, I plan to make the best out of it! So Happy Norwoodversary Colin.. You are my hero!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bluebonnet Festival - Chapel Hill, TX

I love springtime in Texas with the bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrushes, warm weather (not too hot yet), and it's a great time for family outings! Saturday after Katherine's soccer game, we picked up one of my friends and drove to Chapel Hill for their annual Bluebonnet Festival. Chapel Hill is a small historic town about 1 1/2 hours from where we live. The festival was held in it's historic cute little downtown with the vedors lined up and down the streets.
On the way to the Bluebonnet Festival, we stopped in a field to take pictures in the bluebonnets, a great spring time Texas tradition. This year was hard to find bluebonnets due to the drought we are in. We found a small patch, but the grass and the bluebonnets were pretty dry. But we got some good pictures even though they weren't out in full force.

At the Festival, there was so many vendors! It was fun walking around and looking at all the neat stuff, it got a little hot (we all got a little sunburned). I bought a shirt, the kids got some toys, and I bought some "diet" margarita mix made with real fruit juices instead of all the sugar of the sweet & sour mix. The kids got to do a petty zoo and pony ride. Katherine was rode the pony but was a little hesitate about it, Colin was loving it, trying to make him go faster. Katherine enjoyed feeding the animals at the petty zoo while Colin loved chasing them down. And of course we participated in festival/fair food.. Sausage on a stick, sno-cones, funnel cake, Kettle Corn, hot dogs, and of course beer and margaritas. After all that walking, food, playing with the animals, and the sunburns, the kids were passed out snoring on the way home once we dropped off my friend.

Sunday we had a nice relaxing day around the house. We went to the park and I turned the sprinkler on for the kids to play in the backyard. When I turned the sprinkler on, it was nice and sunny, after about 30 minutes, it clouded up and got windy. I had to bring the kids inside as Colin's lips and feet were blue and Katherine legs were cold. So we put on a movie instead and I got a nap.. I think that worked out great.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Colin's Developmental Assessment

After Colin's first surgery, Texas Children's Center for Developmental Pediatrics asked us if we would mind participating in their study. They wanted to follow Colin throughout the first few years and track his development. Each time after he had a surgery, we had to fill out questionnaires about his development and the things he was doing. At his first birthday, we had a 200 question booklet to complete on all the things he was able to do.

This week, Colin had his 2 year old development assessment with the center. I am very proud to say that he is completely on track and even ahead in some areas. They had him complete tasks such as :
• puzzles (matching corresponding shapes)
• stacking blocks (asked him to stack 3 high, he was able to stack 6)
• looking at a picture book he had to point out or name objects
• problem solving - given a task, could he use reasoning to do it
• motor skills (jumping, running, kicking ball, going up stairs)
• Testing his speech

We will get the full report in the mail in a couple of weeks. They do not feel Colin needs any therapy and were happy with his progress. The night before Colin's assessment, we made a list of all the words Colin can say, he is able to say 70 different words! For his age, he should be able to say 50 -70 words… we are so proud of him. He is putting 3-4 word sentences together. Some of his most common ones are:
- Look mamma, a tree
- Mamma, I done (when he is done eating, ready to get out of his chair)
- Dadda, I bath, go bath (when I am in the bath and he wants to get in)
- Outside, go, shoes (as he hands you his shoes to go outside)

So two great appointments in a row.. Keep it up Colin!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Colin!

This weekend was full of birthday celebrations for a very special boy… Colin turned 2 on Sunday. Where did the time go, didn't we just celebrate him being one?

Of course with Colin, his birthday is more than just turning a year older, it signifies so much more than that. It's a day that we celebrated a year of great health, a year of no heart surgeries, a year of blessings made through God and his medical staff. A year that we didn't take for granted, a year that we know we are more fortunate than other families.

Looking back at his birth, even two years ago to this day (a day after he was born) we knew nothing of HLHS, nothing of CHD's, nothing of the journey we were about to begin. I am still so very very thankful to this day for the doctor in the NICU to do an echo on Colin just to make sure since things weren't adding up. I am so very thankful for delivering two blocks ago from a top rated heart center that knew what to do, and I am so very thankful that Colin's heart was strong enough to go undiagnosed for 3 days. Colin's birthday will always be a reminder about how blessed we truly are to have him here with us.

A little update on Colin:

- 23 pounds (3rd percentile) but is growing according to his growth curve

- 32 inches (5th percentile)

- Speech - is saying 4 word sentences… "Look momma, a tree" , "I wanna go outside", "I wanna snack, eat"

- Comprehension - understands very well, yesterday Katherine said "lets go to the zoo", Colin's reply "Yes, I go Zoo, yes I wanna go.. Zoo Zoo.." then he turned off the tv and picked up his shoes and brought them to me :P Sadely, we did not go to the zoo.

Saturday we had Katherine's soccer game, then we came home and got the house ready for his party. The theme of the party was of course, BUZZ LIGHTYEAR.. Colin's favorite right now. We had 12 kids running around. They bounced on the moonwalk, played in the backyard, and went wild in the upstairs playroom. Colin had such a great time with his friends. Katherine had a good amount of friends there too since her classmates also have siblings in Colin's class. Colin got lots of great new toys, including a John Deere Tractor, a pretend weed eater, "leaf blower" that blows bubbles, and of course Buzz Lightyear toys. He had lots of fun opening his presents this year… I even heard him say "Whoa" when opening them. The moonwalk was at our house for 4.5 hours, I think Colin jumped in it for about 3 of those hours…. He loved it so much! After all the guest left, Colin passed out. It was a very tiring day, but well worth it to see both Colin and Katherine have so much fun with their friends.

Sunday we went down to Galveston to eat at The Spot, our favorite hamburger place on the beach. Then we went down to the strand for shopping and the candy store, where we got a caramel dipped apple covered in M&M's, chocolate covered cherries, and more goodies. Colin even had fun hanging out at the "bar" with Matt, it's a shop on the strand that sells beach apparel and has a bar :) What a great weekend to celebrate a very special birthday boy!