Friday, January 29, 2010

Coming Up On Six Months...

Almost six months ago my little baby had open heart surgery. I used to worry some, about how his scar would look as he got older. And for a while it was looking kind of puffy and not so great but now as he approaches his six month mark to having a repaired heart, a heart that had to be repaired in order for him to live basically...

I don't think it looks so bad.

It's his battle wound. Such a strong little boy. And we are forever thankful for this repaired heart.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I think I'm getting the hang of this!

My parents came up a few weeks ago and my mom patiently taught me how to sew again. I had pretty much forgotten everything my sister and her taught me over the holidays and attempted to make a pair of pants...let's just say Ainsley called them "interesting" when I showed them to her-lol {that's Ainsley's nice way of saying that doesn't look so good}. I just laughed at myself and decided I needed someone to once again show me how the heck I'm supposed to use this thing-the sewing machine.

Here are some of things I sewed with my mom's help:
{read on because I actually made some things all by myself!!}
I'm excited about this dress for the spring time!
I think I got this pattern at JoAnn's and we made a few adjustments like adding length to it with the polka dot fabric, adding the rick rack and instead of buttons we used bows.
My mom showed me how to interface fabric.
Coordinating pants for Harper!
She showed me the easiest way to make a ruffle, using dental floss-it's the coolest thing!!

This is supposed to be an owl-not a cat:)
This is probably the easiest pattern I've done so far, I think the waistband on the pattern is way too complicated for such an easy pattern so I did it the easy way where you make a pocket for it and pull the elastic through with a safety pin.

After she left I was feeling so much more confident and with a new sewing space (no longer in the dinning room) I decided to try some things on my own:

Valentine ruffle pants with matching applique-actually we'll be wearing these all year- ya'll know I LOVE polka dots!!
Couldn't leave Bennett out! Matching "tie" applique -{Bennett was unavailable for this photo shoot (napping) and will be making his appearance in his Valentines "tie" closer to Valentine's Day};)
I'm loving this skirt! Once again great for all year-round!
This really was an easy skirt to make, a tad more complicated then the owl one but I will definitely make it again. Really wanted to add a little ball fringe but sadly I did not have enough-guess I could always add it later.
Well of course I had to make a coordinating outfit for Ainsley!

I'm very excited to be able to make the kids some cute
outfits now and I love being able to have something fun for them to wear for all of the little "holidays". I was even able to save the day and fix one of their princess dress up outfits that was quickly unraveling.

So yeah, I think I'm getting the hang of this!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Making Progress...

...or maybe not.
{just to be clear, I did not encourage this behavior, nor did I turn on the swing so she could break it}

Harper transitioned nicely into a big girl bed, not nearly as much drama as I thought it would be. I believe she is still struggling to find her place in the family though.

Am I the baby or am I a big sister?

So with all of that comes tantrums and we're in the throes of the terrible twos, that's for sure. Out of nowhere she's become a picky eater and I feel like she spends more time in the corner then not. Most days you will find Harper wearing her Cinderella dress and not only in the house, she likes to wear it when we go out as well and frankly it's not worth the battle.

I plan to start really potty training her during spring break when we won't have to leave for school every morning, unless of course she decides she wants to try earlier. But so far this little girl could care less if she's sitting in a soaking wet diaper although she will ask me to change a poopy one. And she loves to wear the Dora underwear but has no problem peeing all over Dora. I haven't been all that strict with it, to be honest and I just hate potty training but it needs to be done so we'll press on.

Harper is definitely proving to be her own little person, nothing like her sister and knows all the buttons on mommy to push, just enough to send mommy over the edge.

But then there are times like this and then all the tantrums don't seem to matter. She'll always be my baby girl.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Joining The Club...

...the club of Independent Sitters!!!

Whoo-hoo! So proud of you Bennett!

He's still a little wobbly and of course can't get himself back into a sitting position but he can play for a decent amount of time without toppling over. Bennett is 8 months today and I think he has his first tooth coming in! It's on the top, which I think is common among kids with DS-not sure though??

He's been rolling around like crazy, across the room and gets very upset if something stops him from his rolling, like a chair or a table-so funny! He's addicted to his thumb and is grunting a lot-not sure what that's all about but he also likes to babble mamama, dadada and bababa. Bennett has also been pulling his knees up under his belly, now we just need to work on getting the front end up.

He likes to blow raspberries and is starting to imitate us when we make sounds or do silly things with our mouth. He loves the song "Rock-a-bye-baby" and knows when you're getting to the end where he "falls", he gets this big grin right before the song gets to the end-I love it!

He's still just as sweet as he can be and I'm enjoying this baby stage for as long as I can!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Tribute To A Beautiful Baby

I wanted to share this video with you as a tribute to a little baby girl. Her name is Gabby and her mother and I emailed back and forth several times concerning Gabby's open heart surgery. Gabby had Down syndrome as well as an AV canal heart defect (the same one Bennett had). Sadly, at just 4 months old, sweet Gabby passed away shorty after her surgery due to complications. This is the beautiful video her mother made to share with others. Please take a look, Gabby was such a beautiful little girl and I know she's sitting in Jesus' lap right now, smiling down. But I know she is missed terribly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Like Sister, Like Brother...

People are always saying how Bennett looks so much like Harper but when I took this picture of him today...

It made me think of this picture that was taken last summer...

Same crazy face...wonder if he'll have the same crazy {at times} personality...hmm, that could mean trouble...;)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Similac vs. Enfamil...

If you don't currently have a baby or one on the way, you may not find this very interesting but I wanted to share this interesting finding-at least I find it interesting.

Ever since I stopped nursing Bennett he's been on Enfamil Gentlease formula. We had Harper on this and she did fine plus anything to prevent gas or fussiness or whatever sounds good to me so we stuck with it for Bennett. Since his heart surgery he has become quite the good eater until recently, within the last few weeks, he hasn't finished all of his bottles and had a lot of spillage out of his mouth and he was getting better with that.

So I ran out of the Enfamil one day and remembered I had a unopened Similac Advanced can from when he was the born (the hospital gave us some). As I was mixing it I noticed how easily it mixed-no clumps-the Gentlease always had clumps! Anyways, he chugged that bottle down within 5 minutes without stopping- all 8 ounces! He continued to do that for all of his bottles that day!

Well I finally got around to buying more formula and instead of purchasing the Similac, I just couldn't let go of the Gentlease so I purchased it once again. Wouldn't you know, he started spilling and not finishing his bottles. So during a feed I decided just to try the Similac once more and quickly made him a bottle (he had 2 ounces of the Gentlease and acted like he didn't want any more) and again, he chugged it-6 ounces under 5 minutes! I don't know what it is about this formula but he loves it and I think I'm going to have to switch brands! Even Ainsley was on Enfamil, I've just always been an Enfamil mom but it doesn't make sense to stick with something if the baby's not going to drink it. It is strange though that he is just now not liking it, whatever.

Any other Similac lovers out there? If feels strange to switch after all this time but to have 5 minute feeds- you can't beat that, plus no clumps- I'm loving it!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

Oh, how I love him!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hemangioma Help!

Now don't worry, I'm not going crazy over this {believe it or not} but Bennett has this small mark that I noticed back in October and I'm pretty sure it wasn't there when he was born in May. When I saw it I took a picture to see if it would grow over time...I know you're thinking how on earth did she even notice that??!!
But sure enough, it has...

His pediatrician called it a hemangioma and she was pretty sure that if it has only gotten this big that it should go away on its own and not get "too much bigger" by the time he turns a year old. Just wondering if anyone has had experience with hemangiomas and if so, did it go away by the time your baby was a year old or did you get it removed?

I realize that they can be much bigger and I know Bennett's is very small but I'm afraid if it gets much bigger he may eventually pick or scratch at it. But maybe not. Anyone know about these things??

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I was talking with a friend the other day and she asked how Bennett was doing. I told her I felt he was doing well and that all his therapists have commented on his good tone and how well he holds his tongue in and things like that. She said maybe he has a mild case of Down syndrome...don't I wish.

Without getting into a lengthy conversation, I agreed. Now if you are the person I was talking to, do not think you said anything wrong! Most people think that there are "milder" forms of Down syndrome but from all I've read it seems if you have it, you have it. You can't have a little Down syndrome or a lot, you just have it or you don't.

Now perhaps there are "higher functioning" and "lower functioning" individuals so to give my friend credit, she most likely meant this. Again, to my friend, please don't think you offended me in any way, you don't need to apologize because you said nothing wrong, it just got me thinking...

So for my family and friends and others that are not aware, I thought I'd share what the average age for some of the big physical milestones are for Down syndrome. It may surprise some people, probably most will be surprised that it may take that long to do some things, especially when you see the age range.

But I figure if my friends and family are informed and we stick to the Down syndrome milestone chart, we won't be disappointed or fearful that Bennett isn't reaching his milestones.

After all, Bennett does have Down syndrome and do I want him to be "higher functioning"?- You better believe I do, don't all parents? But that's out of my control. So where ever he is on the functioning spectrum I think it's important to still remember he has Down syndrome so let's not compare him to kids that don't. (Not saying that anyone ever has). {Besides, I'm the only one allowed to secretly do that-lol, just kidding-sorta;)!}

The average is the first number and the age range is the second set of numbers (blogger won't let me space it how I want):

Rolling: 8m, 4m-12m

Sitting, unassisted: 11m, 8.5m-15.5m

Crawls: 14m, 9m-19m

Pulls to stand: 15m, 9-26m

Stands alone: 18m, 12m-38m

Walks: 23m, 13m-48m

Runs: around 4 years

I won't bore you with some of the other cognitive and social milestones but the good news is that right now Bennett is staying pretty close to that first number in the "age-range" for that. However, for example, pulling to stand at 9 months isn't going to happen unless he has a major explosion in gross motor skills. But that's okay. He may be able to do some things early and he may do some things late, just like any other child.

I'm not saying my expectations are necessarily low for Bennett. I'm just saying I don't expect Bennett to do things other kids without DS are doing at exactly the same time. Now if he does, whoo-hoo!But I think it's healthy to have my expectations in check but to still push Bennett to be the best he can be.

And whether he's "higher-functioning" or "lower-functioning", well, I don't think we'll really know that for some time but we'll still love him just the same and expect him to challenge himself and do many if not all of the things his sisters do. I will not put any limitations on Bennett. I will expect him to do everything other little babies do, just on a different timeline...

and we'll call it...



Friday, January 8, 2010

Springing Into Winter!

Yep, it's definitely January. The boot tin is out for the season because it seems like there's always just a little snow on the ground and as soon as you put them up, it snows again.

I always find it depressing taking down the Christmas decor. To be followed by putting up the same old stuff I had before, stuff that looked fine before Christmas but somehow looks pretty plain and bare after the season.

So this year I decided to change some things up, move some things around and bring just a tad bit of spring into my winter decor...
These used to be in our bedroom, yes of course they're fake but I don't mind fake if they're not too fake looking:) Who doesn't have hydrangea on their kitchen table in the middle of winter? Ha, I love it! It's wintery white and refreshing if you asked me.
This is by no means done, just some beginning decor thrown on my now fabric covered dining room table (no place for the sewing machine just yet but hopefully soon).

I'm loving birds right now and my new color obsession is sky or what we call in our house "Carolina Blue";). So it may not go perfectly with my greenish and gold walls but I am slowly breaking free from my greens, reds and golds and leaning towards blues, browns, ivory and tan. However, it may take some time since a lot of my furniture fits into the first color palette.. like all of it.

So here are some of my attempts to add more ivory. Many of my frames and accents are black or dark bronze and I'm just over it! I need bright and airy during these cold winter months!

I love this verse and found this little plaque 50% off at Jo Ann Fabrics of all places. I just added some brown ribbon to hang it from. Jo Ann's now has a Shabby Chic line and they've got some really good stuff!
Just adding that Carolina blue in small doses and I told you I'm loving birds right now, well I love their houses too! Hobby Lobby has some really cute ones!!
More Carolina blue! You see, I really don't care that the blue candles don't "go" perfectly with my walls, I'm breaking all my rules and branching out! {plus I think I enhanced the color a little because it doesn't look quite that blue in person;)}

I got the stocking holders at Hobby Lobby (of course) and decided they would be cute all year-round! Yep, I've already started decorating some for Valentines too! I don't go crazy for Valentine's Day but the girls like it and it's fun having something else to look forward too. We're in for a long 3-4 (hopefully only 3) months of cold weather up here, so I've got to keep it interesting!
Another one of my favorite decorating changes is adding this little tray to my coffee table, it used to be in my basement, on a shelf, getting dusty. Not crazy about the color since it's in my "old" palette but it's great because for each season I change it up (Fall and Christmas were so much better then what I have now but these were some left over things that I'm not quite ready to banish to the basement, so in the tray they went).
This little guy usually gets packed away with the tree but I decided that he's not too Christmasy (don't think that's a word, so I made it up) and he's cheerful so he gets to stay a little while longer this year.
Fun hearts because it makes the girls smile.

So if you get depressed taking all the Christmas stuff down, do what I did, change things up, add a bit of spring to brighten up the house. It's not like you're putting out Easter eggs and bunnies, you're just bringing in some warmth and I know most of us are just about freezing right now!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Results....

So I found out (not from my doctor but from another source) that basically the area in question seems to be overlapping cartilage which would cause pain and I also have a small cyst on my liver but I don't think this is what is causing the pain. I have been told that both are nothing to worry about but I still need to discuss with my doctor where we go from here. Does the cartilage heal if that's what the pain is coming from or is this just something I live with? Either way I'm so thankful it's nothing serious although I am a little surprised they found a cyst but apparently it's pretty common, most people just don't know they have them until they have something like an MRI done.

Thanks everyone for your prayers and nice comments! I'm going to try my hardest to not think every little thing is something terrible and enjoy the fact that today we are all healthy and happy and really that's all that matters.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Little Health Update...

Not for Bennett though, for me. Let me back track a little and start by saying that after having Bennett I've become, ahh, rather paranoid when it comes to my health. For example back in the summer I was convinced a mole I had was melanoma (it does run in my family and I have had several basal cells removed so it wouldn't be unheard of)- I didn't, of course. Then after the swine flu went through our house I was convinced I had pneumonia-my asthma flared up and it hasn't done that in years and I got myself all worked up- a z-pak, nebulizer treatments and some prednisone took care of that.

So I have no idea why I've become like this, I really don't think I was like this before. It's almost like since 2 kind of rare things have happened to us with our babies (Ainsley and her Hydrops at birth and Bennett and his Down syndrome) I think why not? Why not have something else weird or tragic happen to us. I know, that's not being faithful and it's more like living in fear but it's just something that I'm dealing with.

So recently, about a month ago I suddenly had pain under my right rib, mainly when pressure was applied or when I coughed or sneezed. I let it go for about 2 weeks and then I thought I'd get it checked out. I googled it to death-"pain under right rib" and gall bladder came up, pulled muscle, fractured or bruised rib and then occasionally CANCEROUS MASS would pop up.

Well, you know what I focused on people- the cancerous mass. So again, visions started popping up, thoughts entered my head. I went to the doctor and he did say he could feel "something". Picture it, all three kids are in the exam room, the girls are fighting back and forth and I'm lying there while the doctor is feeling around my stomach, saying "It doesn't feel like a hepatic mass, hmm but something."

Now, I'm very blunt and want to get right down to the point and discuss the worse so I look up at him and say "I'm talking cancer here", he says, in the same blunt manner- "I know you are and so am I and that's not what I think it is". "Well then what is it?" He says-" I don't know, let's order an ultrasound."

So then I'm really nervous. The doctor doesn't know but he still feels "something" and it still hurts when I push it, that's not normal.

So I go for the ultrasound and then I see the doctor again and he comes in saying "good news, you're healthy, your ultrasound was normal!" Then I say-"then what's wrong with me, it still hurts!". So he lays me down and once again he says "Hmm, I can still feel something, but it feels smooth and small" but he still says he's not concerned, just perplexed. So he then says "I hate to do this but I'd like you to have an MRI, I just don't want you walking around undiagnosed and I'm really curious as to what this is". Umm, can you say FREAKING OUT!? I continue to ask him, "you're not concerned though, right?"

So I waited for two weeks and today was the day for my MRI. It went fine but now I wait...again, to hear from the doctor. I'm no longer freaking out because surely I'd have more symptoms if it was really bad, right? I'm hoping and praying it's a pulled muscle from lugging Bennett around (he's now over 17 pounds) in his car seat up and down two flights of stairs every day for Ainsley's preschool. Or perhaps from working out. But lying in that big white machine, you can't help but let your mind wonder.

At this point I just want to know why on earth it hurts when I push on my lower rib!! And what is it that the doctor "feels"??

I guess I should have answers in the next 24-48 hours but just asking for you to pray that it is something as silly as a pulled muscle so I can move on and work on my issues with health paranoia!! Good grief, I just need to relax and stop thinking the "worst" is going to happen to me!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Baby Bennett's First Christmas!

Happy New Year!! Hope everyone had a great holiday-we definitely did, so much better than last year!! Last year we had so many unknowns to worry about but this year that big unknown (Bennett) was just a happy, cuddly baby for us to hold! We're so thankful for him!!
So this Christmas was a special one for Bennett-his first, of course! Here's some pictures of him on his very first Christmas as well as throughout the holiday and some special people in his life:)...

Opening his gifts

Ainsley helping him open gifts

Getting ready for his morning bottle:)

Just some cuteness in these next few pics

His sisters love him so much!

Bennett with his sisters and cousins

Uncle Seth and Aunt Alexa

My parents with all their grandchildren

Micah (my sister's son) with Bennett

Ty (my sister's other son) with Ainsley

Mike with Harper waiting to take a ride on granddaddy's trailer.

Us-Christmas 2009!

Happy 2010!