Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wise beyond her years

Friday night while putting Brennan and Brooke to bed Hailey was having a meltdown (thankfully they get fewer and fewer) and we told her she had to go to bed now too because she couldn't control herself. I had her in time out while I put B&B to bed then was able to focus on her. She went kicking and screaming and kept screaming because she was mad but I just went downstairs and wasn't going to fight with her about it. After about 10 minutes she came to the top of the stairs and apologized and wanted to talk. So proud of her for that! We've really been working with her to express her thoughts and feelings and our conversation upstairs broke my heart.
She had calmed herself down and said she didn't mean to be mean but sometimes when she starts crying because of being mad it turns to crying because she's sad and can't stop thinking of things that make her cry. (Ever done that? Start crying then your mind wanders to more sad things -yep I could relate.) I just asked what she was feeling and thinking about and she asked more questions about death...every couple of months it seems she gains a deeper understanding that needs to be processed and dots that need to be connected. I hate that she's experienced so much already but cherish her perspective and understanding. She was said because she thought Uncle Joe was hurting before he died and wondered if he died in the hospital too (like Katelyn). I said I didn't think so, they didn't have a lot of hospitals around in Afghanistan but that God took care of him every second until he died. She also said she was worried about Landon when he keeps going to the hospital and specifically brought up the time in April 2011 when he stopped breathing and had a seizure in the car and we had to meet and ambulance at a gas station....she was sitting right next to him in the van. I was trying to stay calm for her but was scared myself and apparently she was too. She's been around for 2 other ambulance calls and at the time seemed to be ok but is now connection the dots. I told her that she being sad was because she loved Landon and she repeated that she loved him so much (and she started crying harder). I assured her that Landon's doing great right now and we would tell her if he was ever dying - awful thing to have say about your son to his sister...We decided to pray that God would take the scared, mad and sad thoughts away and she asked me to for her because it would make her keep crying. (Gave a new meaning to praying on someone's behalf. There's been times I needed someone to pray for me because I couldn't). I gave her a hug and kiss and tucked her in bed and she went right to sleep.

Saturday when we prayed for lunch, she was thankful for her family, her dad that made a balance beam and uneven bars for her American Girl doll and for her mom understanding her last night. She melted my heart right then!

Hailey always has been wiser beyond her years, especially through her grief. I so wish I could take away her grief, her fear about Landon and the experiences that make her connect to death. I am so so thankful for God's peace and her faith and trust. She's a pretty awesome girl and her life will be used for great things!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from some super awesome kids!!  Hailey is "Batman girl", Brennan is Batman, Brooke is Robin & Landon is a muscly Captain America!  This year's costumes were pretty easy to figure out - we've been in such awe of how awesome our kids are, they're total superhero's! Overcoming sickness, making huge developmental strides and being Hailey being flexible to roll with the what's next! 

Nich had to work tonight and I was not feeling brave enough to take the crew out by myself - so thankful one of our amazing babysitters stayed late tonight and went with us!  We went to the YMCA's trunk or treat (Hailey was super proud to show off where she goes after school and gymnastics!) then tried visiting Daddy at work but he couldn't get out of class.  Hailey was such a great helper and Brooke loved holding hands trick-or-treating with Hailey just ahead so it was a little more manageable.  Brennan was getting pretty tired but hung on, helping to push Landon in his chair and dancing to the music!  A little chaotic, a lot of fun and the kids had a great time!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Starting school!

Wow - has it really been since June that I posted?!  I started my MSW in June and between Nich & I working, my school and the kids school we've been running in fumes.  Sometimes I've had the time but not the energy, others I've had the energy (and started posts) but not the time - well, oddly enough at 6am on Monday morning I have both!  I woke up WIDE awake at 5am and tried willing myself back to sleep for the 30 minutes left before my alarm but didn't work. I could hear Landon up already making noises downstairs so got up and he and I had a nice leisurely morning before getting him on the bus.

Here's a photo collage of everyone's first day of school!  (You can click to make it bigger.)  Hailey's in 1st grade this year and loves it!  She's struggling a bit staying in her seat - she's too much of a social butterfly!  Brennan and Brooke are in the same class at the ISD Early Childhood Program (mild classroom) in our town where they work on Preschool stuff and still see OT, PT and Speech Therapy.  Landon is in the Severely Multiply Impaired (SXI) Class at the main ISD building and he's developing so well!  They mostly work on therapy and independent type stuff, he's not ready yet for academic school skills.     

Hailey is now counting over 100, knows her odd & even numbers and is working on adding.  She can also read really well and is having weekly spelling tests - 1st grade is much different than Kindergarten but she loves learning!  Brennan is talking so much!  He's able to identify pictures and objects by name, knows his colors, playing appropriately and is starting to form sentences to say what he wants!  Brooklyn is jabbering like crazy!  She's speaking in paragraphs! :)  Her diva-ness is starting to wear off a bit as she's able to communicate what she wants and she's actually a huge helper!  She loves playing kitchen, coloring, playing baby (dolls and with Landon!) and reading.  Landon is making huge progress too!  He gets on the bus at 6am and is happy to go to school!  They're working with him on his hearing aids, standing, sitting independently and playing and he's doing so well!  I'm really impressed with the teachers and staff there - they are so compassionate and really love their kids!  A few weeks ago we got a note home from his teacher saying Landon is such a joy to have in class! 

Now on to get another kid up and ready for school! I'll try to post soon (anyone reading this - hold me to it!!) more in depth their personalities and developments. I'm so proud of them!  It's absolutely incredible how far they've come in so many ways!  We praise God for His healing and strength in them!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Boys speech progress!!

Here's a couple videos that made me cry!  The boys are doing so well!  Last week we got the approval from Speech Therapy to start feeding him at home!  In the past when we've tried he's had a lot of oral aversion and wouldn't let us touch his mouth.  We've done a lot of work with therapy and the vibrating toothbrush at home and now he always has his hands in his mouth, making noises and swallowing without gagging!  He welcomes the food!

Brennan has really been working on talking and the last few weeks he's really taking off!  He can count up to 5, repeat his colors and now pretty much repeat anything you say!  Tonight Brooke was listening to Hallelujah and I asked Brennan if he could sing's Brennan "singing"!  Sorry, my voice is really loud but listen towards the end, he claps for himself and says "I singing!"  He didn't repeat but came up with a sentence on his own!  Oh man, I'm so proud of him!!!

Thank you so much for all your continued prayers and support for the kids, they really are miracles!  Definitely not the typical 23 weekers!   

Sunday, April 29, 2012

March for Babies 2012!

Today was March for Babies.  It was actually quite an emotional day, thinking how things could've been - should've been with the statistics...we are so blessed with these babies and the path God has brought us!  We want to bring awareness to premature birth.  The obvious effects on the babies, and the challenges they will have as they grow that they shouldn't have to carry.  The burden of guilt mom's carry, that no matter how much people say that they didn't do anything wrong.  Only God's peace can ease that weight.  The effect the frailty has on families, any minute the premature baby can have a complication.  The effect this stress has on siblings, they can't always play with their brother/sister how their friends do.  The research this organization does hopes that one day all babies will be born healthy.

Can you imagine how awesome it would be to have 4 healthy toddlers running around, taking in their environment with all their senses!?  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade our kids for anything - I just wish they didn't have to deal with so much!  I wouldn't wish these challenges on any family and want to do whatever I can do make sure other families have healthy, long pregnancies with healthy, strong babies!

Today we celebrated the research that has been done and Brennan, Landon and Brooklyn's lives, yet achingly remembered Katelyn and the work that still needs to be done... 
We were so honored to be recognized with a plaque for being the 2011 Ambassador Family.  It's incredible how far the babies (and all of us!) have come since last year!

 Landon did so great! 
 Proud big sister! :)

They were running all over!  So amazing to see!  

Brooke and Brennan had so much fun together!

Thank you March of Dimes!!!!  We are so incredibly thankful for the research and awareness March of Dimes has done that has helped our family!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ballet on a Rainy Day!

How do you keep 2 busy girls entertained on a cold rainy Saturday?  Break out Bella Ballerina and tutu's!  We found the whole Bella Ballerina kit at Goodwill complete with the teaching mat, bar and DVD!  We've watch this about 4 times today and the kids are having so much fun!  Brennan's even getting in on the action!

 Hailey was really into it, but Brooke looks like she's playing twister!
 She's getting so big! She's a little taller than Brennan :)

I'm so glad they're having fun together!  

Ok, so that's 1/2 the day....thankfully they're napping!  Now to figure out what to do the next 1/2 of the day! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Landon's hitting milestones!

Since the hospital stays, this last week Landon has made some serious milestone progress!!  We're thrilled!  Usually hospital stays put him farther behind and he progresses slower but this has been quite the exception!  He's been in a great mood most of the day which is a big change for him too.  They did increase his Keppra (seizure med) dose so that may play into it.  He's been playing on the ground, in his wheelchair, practicing in the highchair, tolerating his hearing aids and AFO's with no problem! He used to only do one of these things for maybe 20 minutes at a time.  Well, without further adieu....  

Easter Sunday Landon sat up by himself for the first time!!  It lasted about 20-30 seconds but ever since, he's been wanting to sit up more and more and he's getting better at it!  He used to cry and get really mad whenever we tried working with him but now he's doing great!  I guess we just needed to wait until he was ready! 

His next big milestone happened today!  He's actually HOLDING onto the vibrating toothbrush, TRANSFERRING it to the other hand and bringing it to his mouth!!!!  He hadn't done any of those skills before which is HUGE!  This puts him on a range of 7-9 months developmentally - progress!  So many times, I get discouraged because he'll be at a standstill for awhile but it seems like when I give it up and stop worrying, he makes strides!  This boy is so resilient and determined!  Always surprising us!

We're praising God for everything Landon does!  He's come so far - especially since they told us he'd probably be a vegetable :)  Nothing is impossible with God!  I know He's got something special planned for Landon!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hallelujah, We're Home!!

Haven't blogged in awhile because we've been pretty much living in the hospital for the last 6 weeks!  You think I'm kidding?  I know a lot of you follow me on facebook, but here's a quick recap...

Feb 14-Feb 20
Landon had the Human Metapneumonia Virus and during his coughing spells would throw up.  He aspirated one time actually on our way to the pediatrician's office and also had 3 seizures back to back (totaling over 45min) at the office.  We ended up transporting him by ambulance from the pediatrician's office to UM and he was treated for aspiration pneumonia and complex febrile seizures.  Here's the blog post from the last time he had that virus.  It's incredible to think even though it put him in the hospital, he's so much stronger now!

Feb 22-Feb 27
Brennan had scheduled Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy and ended up needing o2 that first night and wouldn't eat.  He needed oxygen for most of the stay and came home on an NG tube for tube feeding.

Feb 28
Brennan made a trip to the ER to have his NG tube bridled (tied to the bone in the back of his nose).  I thought it was going to be a quick trip but ended up being there with Hailey & Landon until 12:30am!

March 5-6
Hailey fell on the 5th and hit her her head smack on the parking lot and got a huge goose-egg!  She fell asleep on the way home from school and had a headache so I took her in to the ER.  They didn't do anything for her and sent her home but Tuesday school called and she was complaining of a headache, dizzyness and couldn't walk straight so we were back for a CT scan.  Thankfully it showed nothing, but she had a headache for a few days and got 2 black eyes!

March 7-10
Landon had a 25 min febrile seizure and had a lot of trouble breathing in the evening so Nich called the ambulance to bring him in since Hailey & I weren't home and he couldn't leave the other kids.  He stopped at the local hospital to be stabilized then survival flighted to UM and admitted to the PICU.  Ended up running lots of tests but nothing came back positive other than the aspiration pneumonia from 3 weeks ago.  They increased his anti-seizure medication dose and gave us a rescue anti-seizure med to use at home to stop the seizure from becoming so intense.

March 12-16
Brooklyn needed o2 when I brought her home from daycare and was working hard to breathe so I took her to our local hospital and she received o2 and breathing treatments before being transferred to UM (the local hospital doctors feared she may need ICU care).  She caught RSV.  She just needed up to 3 liters o2 and ended up coming home on a little bit.  She has a mild case of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) and colds hit her harder (harder than Brennan but not as bad as Landon).  

March 20-31
Landon was acting sick at home but we were doing ok managing his o2, breathing treatments and suction but the 20th he was really lethargic so I took him to the pediatrician's office.  He wasn't working harder to breathe so the pediatrician just thought he was still hanging on from the pneumonia.  He ordered a chest xray and by the time I got him home from that he was needing a lot more o2 (more than our concentrator could go to so I had him on tanks) so called a friend to watch the other 3 so I could take him in.  We were going to be admitted but there was no beds so hung out in the ER until about 8am he started working really hard and needed more o2.  He deteriorated really quickly and had 3 teams of doctors in his little ER room.  They needed to admit him to the ICU team but since they didn't have any beds either, we moved to the RECUS bay to have a little more room.  Tried Bi-Pap to help decrease his work of breathing but that only irritated him more and wore him out so he was barely breathing and they needed to intubate.  Thankfully a bed opened and he was in ICU for 10 days, 9 on a ventilator then moved to general care.  He had RSV, another pneumonia and Pseudomonas

Crazy!!  Here's Brooke singing what we all were feeling!!  This video is so perfect!  Brooke is addicted to Praise Baby and her favorite song is Your Love is Amazing (aka Hallelujah song!) :)  We were all just overwhelmed with joy and so happy to be home!  Nich and I make a good tag team - I'm the hospital parent and he takes care of the other kids at home.  We've been in the house together 10 out of the last 47 days.

Our family, church family, hospital family and online family have really helped support us and help make it through these last few weeks.  God is our rock and won't give us more than we can handle.  When I felt like a breaking point - and had them with all three kids! - He provided just the right support and peace.  I hope we'll be home for awhile now!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Landon Smiling!

 Landon has a lot of sensory issues with his mouth (oral aversion) so we've been working with him to desensitize him and hopefully get him on the track to eating.  The other night he was all about the electric toothbrush!  It's taken awhile to get to this far and I love that he enjoys it now!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Our little cheerleader!

Hailey started cheerleading at the YMCA last week and had her first game this morning!  She is THRILLED!!  Our super babysitter Jess is the coach and she first mentioned it to us...she's been such a blessing taking Hailey to and from practice each week!  Hailey gets some much needed big girl time!  She's got some practicing to do, but you can see her excitement on her face!  :)


She's on the far left side of the video :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2 Year Adjusted Birthday!

Now that they're chronologically 2, the docs and therapists don't take their adjusted age into account, but we do!   If the crew would've gone full term, they should've been born today!

Happy 2nd Birthday (Adjusted)!!  

I think technically at their last assessment they were 2yr (20 months adjusted) and Brooke was at 22months, Brennan was between 15-17 months and Landon was at 6-9 months.  Regardless, we're incredibly proud of their progress!!  More on Landon tomorrow (pictures of his new equipment) but I wanted to get this up on the special day! 

I found this really comprehensive developmental checklist from University of Michigan's website.  By 2 years of age does your child:

Motor Skills

  • drink from a straw (Brooke!)
  • feed himself with a spoon (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • help in washing hands (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • put arms in sleeves with help (Brooke & Brennan!)
  • build a tower of 3-4 blocks (Brooke & Brennan!)
  • toss or roll a large ball (Brooke!)
  • open cabinets, drawers, boxes (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • operate a mechanical toy (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • bend over to pick up a toy and not fall (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • walk up steps with help (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • take steps backward (Brennan & Brooke!)

Sensory and Thinking Skills

  • like to take things apart (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • explore surroundings (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • point to 5-6 parts of a doll when asked (Brooke!)

Language and Social Skills

  • have a vocabulary of several hundred words (Brooke-ish)
  • use 2-3 word sentences (Brooke's really close!)
  • say names of toys (Brooke)
  • ask for information about an object (asks, "Shoe?" while pointing to shoe box) (Brooke!)
  • hum or try to sing (Brooke!)
  • listen to short rhymes (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • like to imitate parents (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • sometimes get angry and have temper tantrums (Brennan, Brooke & Landon - EVERYONE has this down! :)
  • act shy around strangers (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • comfort a distressed friend or parent (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • take turns in play with other children (does any 2yr old?!  We're working on it!)
  • treat a doll or stuffed animal as though it were alive (Brooke!)
  • apply pretend action to others (as in pretending to feed a doll) (Brooke, Brennan with help!)
  • show awareness of parental approval or disapproval for her actions (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • refer to self by name and use "me" and "mine" (Brooke!)
  • verbalize his desires and feelings ("I want cookie") (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • laugh at silly labeling of objects and events (as in calling a nose an ear) (Brooke!)
  • enjoy looking at one book over and over (Brennan & Brooke!)
  • point to eyes, ears, or nose when you ask (Brooke!) 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jammin' Babies!

We have so serious dancing talent in our house! Everytime the music starts, they can't help themselves! And they have pretty good moves!

It's incredible how far they've come! I just couldn't get the image of them so small just 2 years ago out of my mind when they were dancing! Now they're moving all around, understanding and expressing themselves!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Playing in the snow!

Two weeks ago it was snowy but kinda warm so we took Hailey, Brooke & Brennan outside to play! It was Brooke & Brennan's first time all bundled up and they had no idea what we were planning! Brooke and Hailey had so much fun but Brennan got cold real fast and had to go in. He also wouldn't keep his gloves on!
Can't wait for more warm snowy days!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Christmas in January? Yep...I'm behind

WOW, I've had this post started for 3 weeks! This year Christmas was so much fun! Hailey did her big sister job preparing Brennan, Landon & Brooke for Christmas! :)

Christmas with Grandpa, Grandma, Nana & Papa! Brooke is in LOVE with babies now! She sings them to sleep, feeds them, pushes in a stroller - I love it! She's such a spitfire but has a real sweet side when she wants to! Brennan's new love is books! He's usually bouncing all over but will sit still and read a book for an hour! I love this picture of Grandpa and Brennan reading :) Landon opened his present too! He's starting to get the concept of holding onto something and pushing buttons, making progress! Hailey was a big help too - reading everyone's name and passing out presents. She gets bigger everyday!

Christmas at home! Hailey woke up first again so we were able to have time with her opening presents. I love having that one on one time with her, she's handling having to share the attention really well but I miss spending so much time with her! Brooke & Brennan were up next and really got the concept of opening presents! This was really big for Brennan - he's working so hard on his fine motor skills! Landon got up last and wasn't in a very good mood...the others were more than willing to open his presents!!

Our usual tradition on Christmas is to go out in search of eggnog ingredients. We switch back and forth, who goes in the store/gas station and we see how far we have to drive to get all the ingredients and make homemade eggnog. We had some pretty worn out kids so didn't attempt it this year, but my parents came down and brought some! There's nothing better than homemade eggnog! We did venture out for dinner, found a restaurant/truck stop open and had a really good time! It took forever to get our food, but the kids were really well behaved and just had fun! To top it off, a lady came over to say hi, compliment us on the kids (can you believe it!!) and ended up paying for our meal! We wished we would've known when she was there so we could've thanked her! Nich & I figured when our kids are old and grown, we'll have Christmas on another day and do the same thing for a family. It was such a blessing!