Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas pictures

My mother, brother, us and the kids.

Rhys and Zoe playing at my cousin's house on Christmas Eve.
Rhys is sitting in his new Special Tomato chair, and was anxious to get
onto the ground to wreck havoc with the toys.

My mother and Zoe.

Me and my brother.

My silly boy and his Nilla wafers.

Friday, December 17, 2010

visit with Santa

Cody's office had a Christmas party for the kids last week. It was both Rhys's and Zoe's first introduction to Santa. We didn't get Santa pics with Rhys last year because (a) I was pregnant and supposed to take it easy and (b) we were trying to keep Rhys away from crowds and germs.

Rhys did not crack a single smile. He was seriously trying to figure out just who the heck the guy in red was.

Zoe just about had a meltdown. We were able to get a few pics before her bottom lip started to pucker, and someone quickly snatched her from Santa's lap before she could start crying.

They were both very well behaved the entire time. Of course they were held most of the time as they got passed around to all the co-workers, who hadn't seen either of them since Zoe was a couple weeks old.

The best part for the kids was that Santa came armed with a bag full of gifts. It was really cute watching the anticipation of older kids as they unwrapped their presents.

Our kids were more interested in the paper. Especially Zoe, who currently tries to eat everything her fingers touch. And she has to touch everything. See her pointer finger?

Ah, my little man looks so grown up! It is hard for me to see it day to day, but when I see pictures of either of my kids I realize just how quickly they grow.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

my little peanut

The nutritionist came today to visit Rhys, and she checked Zoe out too! Rhys's weight is back up, as is his height. He occasionally has periods where we don't get enough calories in him for one reason or another, and therefore he doesn't grow. Most recently Rhys became (very) mobile, was fighting his illness for several weeks, and as he grows his calorie requirements increase but his food intake stays the same. Our cycle is this: we have a visit from the nutritionist, she points out his lack of gain/growth, we put forth another renewed effort to tweak his eating, he starts gaining/growing again and makes up for the previous growth he "missed". Our efforts are constantly evolving based on Rhys's quirks. It only gets better as he gets older, and will continue to do so as we can start reasoning with him, however it is slow going like everything else. Cody and I are both well aware it all happens when Rhys decides that is what he wants. So all this to say Rhys is back to his ~25% percentile for height and weight.

My little peanut, on the other hand, is a plump healthy little cherub. She is still 50th percentile for height, but has moved right on up to 90th percentile for weight. :) It really is nice having a child that enjoys food so much. The nutritionist told us since she is eating so well, is so enthusiastic about it, and is self-feeding snacks, we should start the transition to more table foods. This means things like diced fruit and veggies, Cheerios and Kix cereals, and increasingly more textured baby food. I still don't have this with Rhys so this is actually fun for me! And sort of daunting knowing you are shaping your child's appetite and eating habits, for possibly the rest of their life.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

more equipment

In addition to the chair and gait trainer Rhys has on order I was able to find him a stander on eBay for pennies! A stander was on the wish list, but it was more important to get the other equipment first. And since we didn't wish to bombard the insurance company with all requests at once (there is a high probability they would not have approved additional major purchases all in one whack) we put the stander on hold for a bit. I've been scouring eBay for various equipment that may work for Rhys, and recently came across a fantastic deal on a demo stander that is in excellent, like new condition. We paid $375 for something that would cost more than $2600 new. The mark-up on medical equipment is truly obscene. I don't know how these people sleep at night. Anyway, I am super excited to get this in for him! He loves to stand up, but it is difficult to hold him in the proper position for any length of time. This will allow him to work on muscle conditioning, but more importantly it will give him another opportunity for "normal" interaction. I'm still angry we didn't think to get this a year ago, but I guess we were waiting on someone to tell us what we needed. Which isn't like me at all, I am normally three steps ahead of the game, so I don't know where my head was. But, it's on its way now, and I think it will do wonders for Rhys.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Rhys's equipment has now officially been ordered! Including a "rush" on the order and overnight delivery to get it here by the end of the year. Whew! Only one more obstacle left... delivery to us! A rush order typically takes approximately two weeks to manufacture instead of the normal three-four, so that puts it somewhere at the middle of the month. The items will be shipped to the med supply company's distribution facility, where it will then be delivered to us. I spoke with the supervisor today and voiced my concerns about the timing being so close to Christmas and he made me a bit more comfortable. He is closely monitoring everything and offered to keep me posted on the status. No worries if he doesn't, I'll just given him (another) call.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


It isn't that I don't trust the medical supply company, but I don't trust them. So, I called the insurance company yesterday to make sure all the necessary paperwork had, in fact, been submitted and that they were in the process of reviewing everything. Our insurance has been great about paying/approving everything to date but I was still a little surprised to find out that they were in the final review process and expecting a final determination yesterday afternoon.

I called back today to get their answer and found out we got a partial approval on Rhys's equipment. Apparently some sort of optional tire variation was requested for Rhys's chair and that did not get approved since the chair obviously comes with wheels/tires. To the best of my understanding they deem it unnecessary since it is a duplicate item and is already included on the "base unit". Whatever. I wasn't aware a different wheel had been ordered and I don't care to have it hold up the process. I should be perfectly happy with the original tires thankyouverymuch! Unless of course there has been a disconnect in communication along the way. Which wouldn't surprise me. According to the insurance rep everything else got approved though.

I then called the med supply company to request that they call the insurance company to gain verbal approval so we can keep everything moving instead of waiting on the formal approval letter from the insurance company. You follow? I think these people are so tired of my daily calls that they are just as anxious to get my order fulfilled as I am.

Why do I always feel like I have to babysit people to make sure they are doing their job properly? Does no one have a good work ethic anymore? It's a shame helpful and willing employees are the exception and not the rule these days. I know this type of behavior wouldn't fly in my previous line of work. I'd have been out of a job!

Monday, November 29, 2010

and, he's off!

Rhys is all over the place! He's down the halls, checking out the laundry room, sliding through the bathrooms, playing in his bedroom and most recently he's into the media cabinet.

The cabinet is new and he quickly discovered the doors slide open and he thinks the little niche is perfectly sized for him to crawl into. You can also see his handy work tearing up the foam mat. I've never had to worry about it before, but I guess it's time to baby proof the house!

Zoe is oh so close to wanting to move on all fours. She is leaning waaaay over to reach things while sitting and she slides her legs around and can almost tuck them underneath her. She is also fascinated with the couch and side of the crib so I don't think it will be much longer before she tries to figure out how to pull herself up. When on all fours she rocks back and forth like she's ready to go, but she doesn't really get on all fours yet unless I put her in that position. I can not believe she is already eight and a half months old!

Today I had my yearly checkup with the OB. I'd been putting it off for months for one reason or another and finally made myself go. The topic of the day was future pregnancies. I asked if he had any reason to believe subsequent pregnancies would progressively get worse. We all agree my pregnancy with Zoe went as well as we could have hoped for, but I still had random contractions from about 20 weeks on. My fear has been that my next pregnancy would become worse, and holy moly if I got pregnant after that it would be even worse still. My OB didn't think that was the case. He even thinks the next pregnancy would go better than Zoe's. Not sure why he thinks that though, guess I should have asked, but I can only assume it is because he now knows what my classical incision scar looks like and knows we were successful with the precautions we took with Zoe. He wants to do a hysteroscopy to check out the interior of my uterus though. He doesn't suspect anything, just thinks it is worth checking out.

Now, this doesn't mean we are going to have another baby right now, but God willing we will one of these days! Probably sooner rather than later. Actually, if I didn't have my issues I would do it right now in a heartbeat, but we have more to consider than just another bambino. To be honest, if the stork delivered babies I think I'd be in danger of wanting half a dozen. No joke. They are a lot of work, but are worth every minute of it. And even though people keep trying to tell me I'll change my mind once I have another, I think they are wrong because I just know.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

news about Rhys's equipment

After much back and forth between me and the med supply company we've finally seen some action. I just gave up on the sales rep since we didn't have time to wait for her to decide to do her job. For the last week I've been working with the PT, high risk doctor, and med supply company to provide the necessary documentation to get Rhys's equipment ordered. If you haven't gone through this process before it is a royal! There has been a lot of confusion, a lot of duplicate document requests to the doctor and PT, as well as just plain ole' miscommunication.

I spoke with the doctor yesterday, trying to give her some direction as to what the paper work needed to say. Of course I have no idea, I'm just going based on what I understood from the med supply company. Never mind the sales rep should be doing this! So after that I'd had enough and called the sales rep's supervisor to get him in the loop. I left him a message, never heard back, but gave him the benefit of the doubt since it is a holiday week.

Today I called my contact to check on the status, only to find out he was on vacation and they were waiting on the MIA sales rep to fix some such something in the computer before they could proceed. I totally flipped out on the assistant! Ten minutes later I had a call from the supervisor. He was very apologetic, was a quick study and tied up loose ends for me today. We should now be ready to submit to insurance for pre-certification tomorrow. They've already verified benefits, but now they have to provide the necessary documentation for insurance to approve the purchase. Once that is done the equipment order will be expedited by the supervisor and we should get it prior to the end of the year. I'm glad we were able to get everything pushed through, but at the same time I find it ridiculous I had to hound so many people to get the job done. I believe the supervisor was embarrassed enough that he will do anything in his power to get this done by Dec 30, but I'll feel better once insurance grants approval and everything is ordered.

Friday, November 19, 2010

this and that

Lots going on in our household lately. Here's a recap.

Cody just returned from Africa after being gone three of the last four and a half months. Can you say single mother of two desperately needed some down time? Much thanks to all you who called in to check on us or offered help while Cody was gone. Coincidentally, Cody was in a different locale in Africa last summer for quite some time too.

Zoe is still not interested in crawling. She is sitting extremely well though and can keep her balance while leaning over to grab things so I'm hoping she soon starts exploring the world around her.

Rhys on the other hand has discovered that he can leave the confines of the living room rug. He quite frequently heads into the kitchen or down the hall into the bathroom or his bedroom. He's pretty quick for inching along.

Baby girl still loves to eat. Every time I give her food I have to remind myself that she isn't Rhys. I am continually amazed at how things are supposed to work.

Rhys's AFO shoes came in. I will get you a picture soon. Well, the shoes themselves look just like the picture I posted previously, but on his feet they look like cinder blocks. They fit well though and aren't terribly heavy. But, he still tends to scissor his legs when he steps and the shoes just compound that problem. I am hoping once we get the gait trainer in he will have better lucky with walking.

Which brings me to the equipment being ordered, or not being ordered as the case was. I am a very unhappy customer in regards to our "sales specialist". Perhaps she is a specialist in dragging her feet and not doing her job. I have called multiple times and left messages in the last eight days, but have received nary a call back. Unacceptable! I contacted the company myself, instead of waiting on her, to get the ball rolling. We need Rhys's equipment a.s.a.p. because (a) he just plain needs it, but (b) we need to have it processed through insurance before the end of the year. The company is working with us trying to get things moving, but it is taking several precious days to gather the information the sales rep already had but never submitted. She is going to have one serious compliant lodged when this is all said and done.

We are adding OT back to Rhys's therapy schedule. For some reason I had a brain freeze and agreed to remove OT from ECI services when the SP started. OT worked on both speech/eating and occupational therapy, so to avoid crossover of the eating/speech component she stopped coming. Duh! Anyway, she is starting up again and will be working on fine motor skills with Rhys. So this will make vision 2x a month, OT 2x a month, PT 4x a month, SP 4x a month. Oh, plus weekly swim. Rhys's little calendar is on power book these days.

We have been using calorie additives for Rhys for several weeks now. When he started moving around his weight plummeted. Well, that and he got sick so his appetite decreased as well. We've been using one powder and one liquid additive with great success. We aren't overly concerned about him packing on pounds, we just need to make sure he is getting enough calories to grow (i.e. height) properly. We are also having some success with Rhys eating some of Zoe's yummy homemade baby food. I'm trying to work towards introducing more food variety before I increase the texture as the SP wants to do. The SP is very pleased with Rhys's progress. He is starting to repeat some words and I swear he is acting like he is talking even though you can't understand him.

My entire household, save myself, is sick. Both kids and Cody are on antibiotics. Rhys's was just because he had drainage he couldn't get rid of. Poor Zoe ended up needing a breathing treatment, antibiotics and a steroid. She tested negative for RSV, which had my heart pounding just thinking of the possibility, and responded very quickly to the meds. Rhys received an Rx cough medicine right after Zoe was born, but this antibiotic was his first real prescription. Not too bad I guess considering he is nearly two and a half. Cody has been running fever for two days now. He tested negative for flu and strep. They are supposing it is viral but gave him an antibiotic for good measure. He thought he was funny today when he said "I hope I don't have malaria". Nice, babe.
Zoe is finally starting to weight shift. She just started that today. She's been standing very well for quite some time, but she stayed planted to the ground and never lifted so much as a pinky toe. Today she started picking up her feet. Hooray!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I can not believe it! I say that every month though... "I can not believe it is already (insert month here)". Thanksgiving last year marked my 20th week of pregnancy, where I started to mentally flip out.

We are trying to figure out what to get the kids for Christmas. As if they need a single thing. I believe we are going to get a play set for the backyard, probably after the first of the year. We have lots of lovely parks in our neighborhood, but it'd be nice to just open the back door. My cousin lives down the road and visits frequently, so with three kids between us this may be a nice little mommy treat to keep the kids occupied and give us a breather.

In addition to the equipment Rhys will be getting Cody and I purchased him a Special Tomato chair. This will give him another sitting option besides his seating system. It is also smaller and portable and can be attached to a regular chair. We've recognized Rhys's sitting problem for over a year and have bought many things to try to help him to no avail. But we never thought to look in medical supply. I am angry at myself for not knowing this stuff existed. I am also upset the PT didn't recommend something sooner. Rhys should have had a seating system a year ago. We love the PT, but someone let this slip.

Lastly, I am not liking how my days bleed one into the next with seemingly no purpose. Other than when the kids need things I have no schedule to speak of and it is driving me nuts! It seems to have gotten very bad lately. I am awake until all hours of night/morning and am tired of feeling like I'm running in circles. A fellow preemie friend asked if I was interested in volunteering at the NICU with her on the weekends. I am seriously thinking about it! It may be nice to have something that requires my time besides my lovely kiddos.

Friday, November 12, 2010

shoes and AFOs

AFOs are in! Rhys opted for the camo look. He's cool like that. We are slowly introducing them to his feet. There are many pressure points with AFOs and the goal is to avoid skin break down. So he is wearing them for a few hours a day, for maybe a week or so. He doesn't seen to mind them unless he is on the floor trying to move around. They aren't super heavy, but I would definitely describe them as bulky on the feet.

Next thing to address are new socks. It may not sound important, but I think Rhys needs seamless knee-high socks. With no ribbing. Think of the impression left on your skin when something is firmly pressed against it. The fold-over ribbed socks we've been putting on Rhys's feet are leaving marks after the AFOs are removed. It might not make a huge difference but we want to make it as comfortable as possible for him since he already has a rigid brace to contend with.

Which brings me to shoes. Rhys's foot is a bit wide to begin with. I've tried several shoe brands that typically work with AFOs, but they still don't fit well. So, I googled it and there are several manufacturers who make orthopedic shoes for children and adults with AFOs. Score! I picked these out.

And Grammy was kind enough to buy them for Rhys! They are designed to fit around an AFO, so are deeper and wider than traditional shoes. I'm super excited about them. Surprisingly, they weren't outrageously expensive as most medical equipment related things tend to be.

Last piece of learning to walk is the gait trainer. I still have not heard from our rep despite leaving her a message requesting a call back. It's getting ridiculous and she is about to incur the wrath of Candice!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


First time EVER Rhys has held a bottle/cup by himself to drink. With no prompting whatsoever! He was so excited!! Of course my making a huge production of it could have had something to do with it.
I had to snap the picture really quick like before he figured out I was watching. That is normally when he does things, when no one is giving him the stare down. I need to find him a good, usable straw cup with handles. Preferably that is spill-proof. The only problem with any spill-proof cup is that it is sometimes hard for me to get the liquid out. And, Rhys only likes these certain straws. They are the ones that come in the honey bear cups. I actually like them too, because they are bendable and basically indestructible. I got Cody to buy a roll of ice-maker tubing at the hardware store for less than $5. It is the same material the honey bear straws are made of and I've been cutting away at it for months. I found these take-and-toss cups the other day and they are a perfect fit for the straw. They aren't spill-proof, but they at least have a lid. Anyway, if anyone has any ideas I'd appreciate it!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

equipment has been ordered!

Rhys's equipment has been officially ordered. I think. The gait trainer was supposedly ordered more than two weeks ago, but when the rep returned last week to help us choose Rhys's seating system it didn't sound as though that was the case. If you know me at all you know I hate this! Don't act like you're going to do something if you have no intentions of following through. I have made it abundantly clear that this needs to be taken care of a.s.a.p. because (a) Rhys needs it yesterday and (b) it needs to be filed on insurance before the end of this year, not next year. GRRR. Anyway, all the selections have been made so hopefully the remainder of 2010 will be sufficient for the 2-3 week lead time.

This is Rhys trying out a demo. We decided on this model actually. It is honestly a little scary looking if you ask me with all the attachments, but it has all the required features that will make Rhys sit properly.
The seat forces him to sit at 90 degrees by positioning his hips so he has to sit on top of them instead of leaning back. Not comfortable to sit ramrod straight but that is the point. It also will allow us to strap in his feet so he can't work to slide his rear out from beneath him. He loved the chair! I think he will enjoy being able to sit at the same height as everyone else. Plus the chair has a tray and can also be easily pushed up to a table. We go for his AFO fitting on Wednesday and I am anxious to get them as well. I really think they will make a difference for him.

And this is Zoe. Yes I know she is wearing boy clothes. We're recycling Rhys's PJs. But she has on pink socks!
Zoe is sitting very well. She occasionally loses her balance when she reaches for something, but when she does topple she doesn't fuss and quickly rights herself. She is not even a tiny bit interested in crawling. She rolls any where she wants to go and seems completely happy with that right now. I am trying and trying to get her to understand she could move on arms and legs but she is having none of it. She loves to bounce. More so while you're holding her than while in her bouncer I think. Oh, and she's decidedly moody once it's time for a nap or time for bed. I am talking the screaming comes out just like flipping a switch. I'm loving watching her personality develop.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

book casualty

One of Rhys's favorite books finally bit the dust. As you can see it was well loved. I don't think he'll miss it necessarily, but I will have to dig another out of the pile to be sacrificed to the oatmeal smears.

And this is typical of the kids playing. Zoe and Rhys both roll all over the place. And never mind whatever who whoever is in the way.

Today Rhys is 27.5 months old and Zoe is 7.5 months old.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

my house is a mess, um, lived in

I am at last experiencing the joys of having a child that gets into everything. Rhys might not be walking but he sure can make one heck of a mess. My house constantly looks like this.

Top to bottom. Not sure exactly how that happens since the kids are confined to the floor, but it does in fact always look like it needs to be cleaned. I am not at all a neat freak, but I do like things to be put away. But alas that just isn't how my family functions. After five years of marriage (oh, and children) I am still trying to resign myself to the fact that my neat and tidy days are on hiatus. Hopefully not forever.

Rhys is sick. As a dog. It's a bit of allergies with a cold mixed in. And it's bad. I am talking buckets and buckets of that clear white gunk that hides in the nose. It is t.e.r.r.i.b.l.e. He can't breathe, can't sleep, and coughs like a mad man, which incidentally makes him furious when he has a lengthy coughing spell. I am breaking the no meds for children under age six rules and giving him children's mucinex. It does seem to be working, but I still wish it would expedite the recovery process. I do not know how many more nights of hearing him snore and wheeze on the baby monitor I can take. I'm scared to turn it down too low for fear of not hearing him so I hear him all night long. Now we just wait to see if Zoe gets it. Ugh, I do not relish the thought of having them both sick.

And just in case you're wondering, Rhys hasn't forgotten how to drink from a straw. I was almost scared he would. I am still amazed every time I watch him do it. Up until now the only liquid he really got was milk/pediasure when he had a bottle. I'd offer him water, tea or sometimes juice frequently but he never drank much because it was difficult for him to regulate the open cup. Yesterday alone he drank about 8 ounces with the straw. I'm hoping this will be a good opportunity for more calories. I'd rather him drink mostly water but the kid needs calories, and he loves tea, so I usually let him have it. He isn't much on juice, but if he was I'm sure I could find some really good, high calorie ones for him to have. I'm trying to figure out how to use this development to our benefit and push a new eating strategy on for him. Problem is I don't have one quite yet, I'm still working on it...

Friday, October 22, 2010


Holy crap, Rhys can drink from a straw! I can not even tell you what a big deal this is for our household. He is still trying to figure out how to regulate the flow, but OMG he is drinking from a straw!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

happy seven months, Zoe!

We finally got the doctor sign-off for all of Rhys's equipment. The medical supply rep is coming this week to measure for his gait trainer. I'm so super excited to get this puppy! I don't think it's going to be easy to get Rhys to focus his attention on it, but the potential of mobility for him has me all aflutter.

We are also purchasing Rhys a seating mobility system. These systems are normally used by those who can't utilize a typical stroller, which Rhys can and does, however we do not know whether Rhys will be required to have one to go to school next year. So since we are going through the rigmarole of ordering the other various things we are ordering this as well. If you've not had to go through this process with your insurance suffice it to say that it is a drawn out lenghty process you do not wish to repeat unnecessarily. While Rhys maybe not strictly need the mobility part of it he will certainly gain some benefit from seat positioning. Rhys's unwillingness to sit is a result of his torso not being properly positioned above his hips. Make no mistake, he can do it he just doesn't want to. It is easier for him to lean back and use his "tone" pattern so he takes the path of least resistance. The idea in this case isn't to make him comfortable in the seating system. It is to force him to align his body properly, break out of his tone pattern and strenghten the muscles that will allow him to sit properly.

Last piece of the puzzle for now is his AFOs. We go in two weeks to get his foot molded for these braces. I hope they help in the way I think they will. Rhys's feet are more often in a slightly pointed position than not which is a result of his tone. The AFOs will force his feet into the proper position, again, to make his muscles break out of the tone pattern so they can strenghten and be used properly. When Rhys stands flat-footed he is obviously much more stable than when he tries to stand on his tip toes. Hopefully all these things together will significantly help his motor skills.

Overall, Rhys's development is moving right along. He really is a clever little guy. His comprehension level is high, he just doesn't have a great ability to verbally communicate yet. Though the speech pathologist says the mouth muscles are getting stronger, which will help is speech. Speaking of the SP, part of that whole effort is to get Rhys to suck properly from a straw. He has been closing his lips around the straw as he should and he can actually drink from a straw, but it is mostly accidental at this point. He still hasn't made the connection of sucking to get liquid. We'd previously been using the sippy bear cup, which allows you to squeeze liquid out much like a juice box. But as you can imagine that is only confusing in this instance as Rhys isn't having to work for anything, it just appears in his mouth. So we've quit using that all together and he only gets an open cup or the straw presented to him for liquids other than milk. He will figure this out, it is just as with everything else - this is going to be something he has to do on his own. No amount of prodding is going to make him get it more quickly.

And speaking of drinking from a straw, Zoe figured that out yesterday. It is amazing to see what a quick study she is in all things. Cody and I can not believe how quickly she picks things up. Not to sing the praises of my child, I do not feel she is any more gifted than another, it is just a comparison to Rhys's learning process. She also can almost feed herself a bottle. She can't quite support the weight when it's full, and she doesn't quite get the raise/lower concept, but she isn't far off. Rhys still refuses to give himself a bottle, so imagine having to do that for 2+ years. :) Oh, and Zoe is sort of turning herself when she's on her tummy, but she hasn't quite found anything interesting enough to make her move forward. She is still trying to figure out how to get those legs underneath her, but she's just recently become interested in wanting to grab and touch everything she sees. We are currently at that in between stage where she is is incredibly inquisitive, but not yet mobile.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15th

Today is national pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. We miss our baby boy like crazy and think about him every single day. But we know he is keeping great company. I find it unbelievably sad that parents lose their children prematurely so often there needs to be a month of recognition.

Monday, October 11, 2010

groceries, food fights and a wedding

The kids at the grocery store this afternoon. Apparently the balloon hander-outer saw Rhys eyeing the balloons so he walked over to give him one. Zoe started grabbing at Rhys's so Cody went and got her one of her own. Zoe still wasn't happy and kept grabbing for Rhys's, which he was not happy about. Any time her hand crossed to his half of the buggy he kindly picked it up and put it back to her side. He's funny that way.

Cody and I have been continually fighting with Rhys on the food front. I have been making most of Zoe's baby food lately, which is a great opportunity to try new foods with Rhys. Rhys still doesn't chew properly so his food needs to be a certain texture so when I make a batch for Zoe I make Rhys try it too. I'm trying at least one new food every day with him in attempt to break through his unwillingness to deviate from the norm. It is good stuff, not the jarred food, so he should enjoy eating it. But that isn't the case. He is a clever little dude and has figured out that if he doesn't close his mouth he doesn't have to swallow. He has even started raking his fingers in his mouth to clean it out. GRRR. Used to if we got a bite in his mouth he'd swallow, but not so anymore. I think his allergies are making him crazy. He has a cough, and very slight drainage. But it's enough to make him refuse just about everything we offer him. It's also enough to set off his puking. I think we've changed his bedding three of the last four nights. Have I mentioned how tired I am of cleaning up puke?!

We had a country wedding last weekend. I guess more specifically it was a wedding that occurred in the country. My SIL and I stood alongside a field of these guys...

... trying to keep the kids quiet. I stole these pics from my BIL by the way, thanks B! Anyway, the picture of the longhorn was snapped and immediately it charged the fence. Lots of fun. But all kidding aside, the wedding was absolutely beautiful.
I just wish the mosquitoes would have have gotten the vacate notice because Rhys ended up with eleven bites, mostly on his face and neck. Yes, I counted. I felt like a terrible mother.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

to the zoo we go

Today was our first family trip to the zoo. We purchased a membership with the intention of making this a frequent thing for the kids.

We started out by watching the seals sea lions put on a short show. Zoe kept leaning over to check things out. Rhys was bothered by the sun in his eyes and quickly lost interest.
The last time I'd been to the zoo was about five years ago when I did a volunteer project with the company I used to work for. And, Cody hadn't been since he was a kid. So it was kind of exciting.

The weather was beautiful - sunny, with a clear blue sky and a high of upper 80s. Rhys and Zoe both did great strolling around. I was excited for them to get out and about for a "typical" experience, since we don't always get a lot of those.

Despite staying out past their usual nap time they weren't horribly cranky. Zoe can and will sleep just about anywhere if she gets too tired. Rhys is my wild card and will normally hold off falling asleep until he gets into his bed. Overall, a great time!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rhys is mobile! Sort of...

Rhys continues to refine his modified army crawl. He isn't all over the house, but he can certainly get to and from whatever toy (or lamp cord or shoe or remote) he sees that strikes his fancy. He hasn't really left the confines of the living room, but I'm sure that day will come. He is using mostly his upper body to pull himself, but he really is trying to get those legs beneath him. It really breaks my heart to see him grabbing at his legs willing them to move. But, I am hopeful this is like everything else in that it just hasn't clicked for him because I know his legs are capable of more movement. We're making another push towards food variety with Rhys. And we're having a tough go at it. His latest trick is to keep his mouth open, refusing to close it and swallow the food. All while screaming mind you. I've never seen such a hard-headed toddler. Sheesh.

Cody and I took the kids to the pedi for their well baby visits yesterday. Rhys started wailing before we even made it to the exam room. After his two shots Zoe was crying and screamed through her four. Lots of tears were shed. But, the kids are all caught up now and all of us now have had our flu shots. Rhys is about 30th percentile for height/weight and Zoe is 60th for height and 75th for weight.

Zoe is oh so close to sitting on her own. She does it perfectly while in her high chair, but when you put her on the floor she isn't so willing. We attempted 6 month pics for her last Friday, but they didn't go so well so we're having to reschedule.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

just for fun

I am somewhat crafty. Not so much in creating things of my own design, but I'm pretty good at copying someone else's. I'm also somewhat cheap thrifty. And, I like distressed/old looking things. Combine all that together and it somewhat creates a hobby of repurposing furniture. Over the years we've painted several pieces of furniture - our bed and the guest room furniture, plus the desk in our study.

When putting Zoe's nursery together I wanted to avoid spending $500+ on a new dresser so we started shopping the classifieds. We lucked out and came across an awesome garage sale find that is working perfectly as a dresser, and doubles as a changing table. I love love love this dresser and think it turned out great, if I do say so myself! Especially considering we spent less than $100 on the dresser and materials.

Most recently, we've discovered our small round breakfast nook table just wasn't cutting it anymore. I've been shopping for weeks trying to find a table that meets our needs, but again not wanting to spend several hundred dollars on a new one I shopped used, and found one similar to this.

Just finished our $40 Craigslist find last night. After a lot of (Cody) sanding and a little left over stain it came out looking like this. I love it this piece too and much prefer the price tag compared to the new ones I was looking at.

Monday, September 20, 2010

crib replacement

We've decided to replace Rhys's crib with a regular bed. After getting up to untangle Rhys from an awkward position no less than four times last night it occurred to me (finally after dealing with this for quite some time) that his crib is too small. Rhys rolls all over the place and gets himself into strange positions, then wakes himself up when he can't get out said position. The crib does convert to a toddler bed, but that would leave him the same amount of real estate. Not to mention I am constantly hearing squeaking on the monitor as he flops about, so I think a larger bed would be nicer for him. Yes other 2-year-olds sleep in toddler beds just fine, but Rhys doesn't have the same set of motor skills and his rolling/movements aren't quite as refined. So, we're going to convert his crib into a full-sized adult bed and add bed rails to the sides to enclose it. It's going to be trial and error (hopefully not error that lands Rhys on the floor!), but we have to make it work because the poor kid can't get uninterrupted sleep. I'm sort of excited to do this for Rhys because I sadly never finished his room the way I had intended. He's had all the pieces, but not everything has had a home.

Zoe on the other hand is having no problem sleeping through the night. Finally! I hope I didn't just jinx myself. Not that I believe in that, but you know just in case. She's been in her own room less than a week and already she's sleeping until at least 8 a.m. Wasn't I just saying she was waking too early? I'm crossing my fingers the late mornings continue.

Cody is finally back from working on the other side of the globe. After having two kids by myself for four weeks I have a new respect for single mothers. And God bless working single mothers. I'd lose my mind if I had to handle an eight to five job on top of the kids. Since it is easier to be out and about with two sets of hands I have put off a lot of things that need to get done. My goal this week is to find Rhys a decent, but not outrageously expensive, mattress set and new bedding. We also need to make appointments for all the doctor's visits I've been putting off, including getting flu shots for all of us. And Rhys needs a haircut - even though I love his hair he is looking a little shaggy lately. Lots to do!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Zoe got the boot

Zoe's been sleeping in our room since she was born. Initially for us to learn her quirks and become accustomed to a new baby, but then a few weeks turned into six months. What can I say, it is ever so much easier to move three steps instead of clear across the house when you're half asleep. And until recently she was showing no desire to eat less than three times a night. Even easier - Cody was away a lot the last few months and Zoe slept in his spot on the bed! Who wouldn't want to sleep next to this?

Last night was Zoe's first night ever in her crib. She's taken naps in her room, but never slept overnight. She went to bed just as easily as she always does. She even slept until her normal time of 5 a.m. Well, I'm assuming. My eyes popped open at that time even though Zoe wasn't crying or making any noise. Sure enough she was wide awake and staring at the light on her camera monitor. I almost got up to feed her, because that is what I'd normally do, but I stopped myself. She didn't look unhappy and she is well past of point of being able to sleep through the entire night without eating. So I stared at her for a while, as I am want to, thinking it's a good thing she is so stinking cute else I might be cranky about being awake at 5 a.m.

I was about to roll over to go back to sleep when I heard Rhys screaming. Ugh. Zoe's room is right next to Rhys's and I could see she heard him. She wouldn't be going back to sleep with all the noise so I checked in on Rhys then went ahead and put her in bed with me to feed her ('cause it is just easier that way). I really needed Zoe to eat anyway, if you know what I mean. By the time she was done eating Rhys was back to sleep, then Zoe and I fell back asleep.

Now if only I could get her to sleep until at least 6 a.m. (but mom would prefer 7 or later if you're listening Zoe) and Rhys to cease his obscenely early morning screaming fits...

Friday, September 10, 2010

equipment purchase process is in the works

After "thinking" about it for many weeks, we're finally getting the ball rolling on Rhys's orthotics and equipment. The PT has been waiting for Rhys to start breaking out of his tone pattern (i.e. move his legs independently and with purpose) before she moved forward with the process of requesting and ordering everything. She thinks he'll only need ankle supports, called AFOs I believe, for walking. This would be to help Rhys's feet stay in the proper position and help him use his muscles in the proper way instead of using the muscles in the tone pattern. Long term she doesn't believe he will need the braces, but that is something only time will tell us. CP isn't progressive, however the effects of not being able to move do ultimately affect the body and cause it to change. Rhys's case seems to be moderate, and he's making great progress, so we're hoping all this hard work pays off for him.

We've decided to get him a gait trainer instead of a stander. Since Rhys does very well bouncing in his jumperoo the PT feels this will be more beneficial for him than a stander because he'll get the benefit of mobility and the weight bearing. His gait trainer will look something like this.

The straps, handles, etc. that you see are removable and Rhys will not require all the attachments. The idea is to get everything Rhys might require and remove it as needed. I'm super excited to get this for Rhys. It is going to take a bit of learning for him (initially I think he will be more interested in the straps than the ability to walk), but I think he's going to love it once he figures it out. He doesn't get in the baby walker often because it isn't designed for toddlers, but when he does his face lights up when he starts moving around. The PT doesn't think he will need this long term, but again we don't know that for certain.

Rhys started his level 2 swim classes this week. Not much different than level 1 classes, just more under water work for the kids. He is getting good at grabbing onto the side of the pool (they teach and encourage "monkey crawling" for safety), but he doesn't yet understand the concept of moving around the edge. He tried to steal a little girl's toy while we were sitting on the step waiting our turn and I had the most inappropriate response of "way to go, Rhys!". He's never tried to take a toy from anyone other than Zoe and she doesn't really count because she can't take it back! He's becoming much more aware of his legs, literally, and grabs onto his pants/shorts a lot. He is also using his upper body to hang on to things and hold himself up. And the boy has mastered the art of rolling and can get pretty much get anywhere in the living room that interests him.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

little Z

Zoe is growing so fast. She is the same age right now as Rhys was when he came home from the NICU. Wrap your mind about that one! She is nearly 16 pounds and still loves to eat. Rhys, on the other hand, was about 8.5 pounds at this age. And it amazes me still that despite all our feeding challenges we've been able to get him to the 25%tile on the charts for actual age. But I digress, this is a Zoe post. This is from a couple weeks ago when she had her first cereal.
She picked it up extremely quickly and now consumes a huge bowl full of cereal and apples two times a day. I haven't given her anything else just yet, but I'm sure she'll devour that too! More and more she is acting as though just the milk doesn't satisfy her. It is extremely strange having a child who eats normally. That you can take her out and about and not worry about feeding times and whether you're near a microwave is a novel thing for this household.

I finally have a decent sleeper! For the longest she was eating on demand, every 3-4 hours. Even through the night. She now sleeps anywhere from 7-9 hours a night, consistently. Hallelujah! The only problem is that she goes to bed around 8 and I can never get in bed before midnight, so I still don't get uninterrupted sleep, but this is still much nicer. She also is starting a regular nap pattern, with a small cat nap in morning and afternoon and a longer nap around noon. She is great as far as getting to sleep too, hardly ever fights it unless we're out in public, but eventually she will fall asleep. Hopefully the transition from our room to her crib will go smoothly. I'm about to do it! I really am! I have been putting her to nap in her crib quite often and she does fine, so I'm crossing my fingers she gets the nights down quickly as well!

She's been rolling for a while. Her first roll was from back to tummy, and that is almost an automatic as soon as you put her on the floor or in bed. She sometimes rolls from tummy to back, but not often. She is constantly pumping those chubby little legs and starting to pull one at a time up under her. She absolutely loves the jumperoo, about to the same degree as Rhys.

She isn't quite interested in sitting by herself, but if you have her in your lap she will try to pull away so she isn't resting against you. Rhys and Rollie had better watch out because she stares them down as though she's ready to pounce! Rhys loves his little sister and Zoe is becoming very interested in him as well. I'm going to pretend that is the way it will always be because I don't want to think about separating them from fighting when they get older. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

2 yr high risk follow-up

Today was Rhys's follow-up with the high risk clinic at the hospital. We volunteered Rhys in a study while he was in the NICU in order to hopefully help other kids with the research. If you've been reading since day one you will remember us speaking of Dr. Gloom. He is the one heading the study, however we did not see him today. We saw the developmental pedi who will (I'm assuming) pass along the information she collected. They are looking for issues with vision and hearing (which Rhys doesn't have, except the small Rx for farsightedness), and developmental/motor issues (which Rhys has an abundance of). Anyway, the appointment lasted for more than three hours. Rhys handled the length of it better than I expected, but it was just as tiring as I anticipated.

What did we find out? Nothing really that we weren't already aware of. Rhys does have some form of CP. The pedi called him a mixed bag of tricks. He doesn't clearly have one type or another, so she is going back to read the clinical definitions to see how to best identify him. He has spastic CP (because of the stiffness in his legs - which is in line with the location of his brain bleed, it effects leg movement), but he may or may not have it in his arms. He has good motor skills in both arms, but what to do with the fact that the right side is weaker? I don't know a lot about CP to be honest. I've always confused myself with the fact that Rhys has tightening in his legs, but then has weak muscle tone - which seems a contradiction to me. I do know that people with CP can walk and otherwise lead normal lives. On a scale of one to five, one being walking independently and five being completely dependent upon someone else, Rhys is currently somewhere in the middle. The pedi said he is about a year behind, which follows that he was a year old before he started doing much of anything. As we've always been told, it is when kids stop developing that the doctors start to get worried. A lot of times they reach a point developmentally and then it becomes evident there isn't much more to expect from them. She seemed to indicate that is what is typical, and that Rhys's continued development is unusual. I don't really understand that fully so I need to get clarification as to why, based on Rhys's history, she'd expect this of him. I want to know if it is based just on his prematurity or something else.

So, what does this mean? Nothing really. We are doing everything we can think of in terms of therapy for Rhys, and it is just too soon to tell. Rhys's development is very delayed, but how much of that is due to his extreme motor delay? Based on how Rhys has developed I've always felt like if/when he could figure out how to move so many more pieces would fall into place for him. I'm a realist so I don't feel that is being overly optimistic. I just wish we knew the final outcome, but no one does. A baby's brain is so elastic that anything is possible. It is the not knowing that drives me crazy.

But in the meantime, he is healthy and doing well with all his therapy. His PT told me last week she feels like he will walk, he might have a limp, but she thinks he'll move independently. We are starting to discuss orthotics for his feet to help with the scissoring of his legs when he walks. Which incidentally is a bit improved. There has also been discussion about a stander, to make Rhys build his leg muscles up a little more. We're still not sure if Rhys will need a walker when he first starts, but if he needs one we'll get that too. The speech pathologist started up again last week after being on vacation for six weeks. He said he noticed definite improvements in Rhys in that short of a time. We have noticed them too. He isn't anywhere near one hundred percent, but he's getting better with eating and talking. He has always babbled a lot, but now he is articulating his words better. He says mama and dada frequently, in relation to either me or Cody, but not in an attempt to get our attention. It is more like I pick him up and he says mama. And he's also thrown in "no" a few times. The SP has said repeatedly that he thinks Rhys will do well in speech and eating, so I'm going to defer to the expert!

Monday, August 23, 2010

happy birthday

A super happy 2nd birthday to Rhys's fellow Zaky lover, Parker. Where has the time gone, Mere?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

please stop the puking!

When does it stop? I am so tired of cleaning up puke. At least Rhys is a happy puker and doesn't get upset about it. I don't know if I could handle that with as many times as he pukes in a week. The terrible twos are quite enough, thank you.

I recently had to stop the mouth exercises (which incidentally I see are actually working bit by bit) with Rhys because he was puking at every.little.thing. - related or unrelated to the exercises. He had just stopped in the last few days, and I was about to start them up again. But first I had a brilliant idea to switch him from Pediasure to Carnation Instant Breakfast. One, it's cheaper. At the least expensive I've found it Pediasure is about $1.33 per 8 ounces, whereas the Carnation is about $0.80 per 8 ounces. There is similar nutrition, and Carnation even has a few more calories when mixed with whole milk. Second, and my main incentive, was that it is actual milk vs. whatever it is Pediasure is made of. Anyway, this is day two of no Pediasure. He wasn't super excited about it, but he's been drinking it. And just now he totally p.u.k.e.d up the entire contents of his stomach. Which is what inspired this omg moment. *sigh* I have to chalk this up to the milk because nothing else has changed. He's had cow's milk from the time he was one year adjusted so I know he isn't intolerant. So it is the extra quantity? I don't know. All I know is I h.a.t.e cleaning up puke.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Welcome to the world Mr. Zach. Not that I matter, but thank you for waiting 36 weeks. I know your parents appreciate your patience. ;o)

Friday, August 13, 2010

take five

Five years, three beautiful babies and a lot of living life. We've shared many experiences neither of us planned for, but here we are. Happy anniversary to my love.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I should...

I feel like I do everything, all day long, yet nothing gets done. I wash clothes, wash dishes, wash kids, only to have to do it again minutes later. And then there are the million other things I should do...

I should actually get out of my PJs every day and put on makeup.

I should be a little more motivated to get the kids out of the house more often.

I should tell you Zoe, and her first cousin Ian, share the same birth day. That's another story!

I should stop browsing the internet as often as I do.

I should actually exercise, eat right and attempt to lose my last 8 pregnancy pounds instead of staring at the scale wondering why it isn't moving in the right direction.

I should make sure I see my baby brother more often. I love him dearly and he loves my kids!

I should push Rhys a little harder with the foods he eats instead of taking the easy way of not aggravating his gag reflex and thereby skipping the cleanup of vomit.

I should quit avoiding telemarketer calls, and instead answer to remind them I'm on the Do Not Call list and quit dialing my number!

I should try to have more patience with Rhys and his whining instead of fussing at him for not communicating with me in a different way.

I should schedule the well baby checkups for Rhys and Zoe instead of dragging my feet because I feel they've both been stuck more times than they deserve.

I should make an appointment for my OB/GYN checkup instead of avoiding that place like the plague because I was there so often the last twelve months I now know everyone's name and job function.

Okay, I should really stop now before I start to sound like a whiner...

I am really not this crazy, I just get wired when I have a mental "to-do" list. Which is quite often lately it seems since my mind races with all the things that need to be taken care of. And that keeps me from sleeping. Like now. But rest assured... I am not feeling overwhelmed, just a little over worked. :)