Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy 20 Months!

Somebody just turned 20 months old. Any idea who?

That's right! It's this guy!!

Happy 20 Months to my super sweet little man! I can't believe you'll be TWO YEARS OLD in only four short months! You are such a fun boy and bring so much joy and laughter to your daddy and I. You are walking perfectly, except for the occasional parking lot fall (although I think that's because you have some secret agenda to hold onto that boo-boo on your right knee and prevent it from ever healing). You are learning more and more each day and continue to surprise us at what you know. You love quietly flipping through books when your sister is otherwise occupied or away from home. Your jabbering is becoming quite hilarious these days! I know you're so close and will start busting out complete sentences before we know it! See what I mean?

We're still working on expanding your palate to enjoy foods other than bananas, breads and cheddar cheese, and it's been a bit of a challenge! Mommy's trying to eliminate processed foods from our diet but you just haven't found a love for any fruit other than bananas, and let's not even mention vegetables! I hope this a phase you'll grow out of, although I thought that same thing when your sister would only eat PB&Js when she was younger (and unfortunately that's still her favorite, although she's broadened her tastes and will try new things... sometimes).

Your temper started out being pretty cute and somewhat comical, but now I'm not so sure. I don't understand why you get so very upset when mommy or daddy tell you "no," and I definitely don't think it's necessary to find the nearest surface (coffee table, couch, wall, oven door, refrigerator door, dishwasher, cabinet, sliding glass door, dresser, entertainment center, ottoman, etc.) to pound with your hands and your head. I gotta think that's a pretty painful way to react to being told not to throw your snack on the floor... Anyway, I certainly don't blame you for your little quirks and think after all you've been through, you're welcome to throw a tantrum or two every now and then (did you catch that? one or two... every now and then... not every day!). :)

Sweet Chasey-poo, I love you more than I can express and I'm so grateful that God has blessed us with 20 amazing months with you, to get to know you and love you more and more with each passing day. I can't fathom why God chooses to take some sweet ones home while giving us the incredible fortune of having you by our side. That is one question I'll be sure to ask God when I get to Heaven. All I know is to be grateful. To shower you with love and affection. To care for you the very best way we know how. And to enjoy each and every second with you because we know we're not promised tomorrow.

Happy 20 months, sweet boy! I love you bunches!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Burn Notice - Oh, yeaaah . . .

If you're not busy tomorrow night, you need to catch the season premier of Burn Notice on USA.

Let me give you one good reason why. Meet Jeffrey Donovan, who plays the lead character Michael Westen:

Okay, so that should totally be reason enough to tune in, right? Riiiiight... But because I'm a team player and like to keep all my blog readers happy, here's another pic, this time including Fiona, Michael's on-again, off-again girlfriend:

Finally, here's a little clip of Michael Westen in action. Enjoy!

This Thursday at 9pm on USA. Watch it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

How's This for a Post?

So here's my post for today:

Chase bumped my laptop onto the garage floor this morning, thus rendering my hard drive a worthless chunk of metal and what-not. My new hard drive is being overnighted and shall be installed moments after its arrival by yours truly (hard drive replacement #2 for my beloved 4 year old MacBook).

Dumb, idiotic shoulda-known-better lessons for the day: Don't wait a month in between Time Machine backups, and don't leave your MacBook on a kid's chair that sits less than a foot from the ground with a 20-month-old within its reach and not think that (A) he'll knock it over because he's a boy and that's what he does or (B) it won't destroy the hard drive falling such a short distance onto a concrete floor.

That is all.

Posted from my iPhone (obviously)

Monkey Fun!

Last week, I took the kids to Barnes & Noble to play with the Thomas train table and look for some new books. They always love the "freedom" they get when I allow them to wreak havoc in the Children's Area (haha! So maybe I still keep a pretty good eye on them so they don't turn into "those kids" you see whose parents actually let them run wild). While they were playing, I happened to notice this adorable little monkey bag by Skip*Hop:

I couldn't pass it up! Granted, we already have this super-cute monkey backpack from Pottery Barn Kids, which I totally love (imagine Chase's name on it, not James')...

...but it doesn't have a single pocket, and I'm big on pockets when it comes to a diaper bag. The Skip*Hop bag has a huge front zipper pocket AND a mesh cup holder on the side. And the little banana zipper pulls? Totally took the cute factor over the top! I'm just so glad to FINALLY (after almost 4 years!) be devoid of a traditional diaper bag in lieu of this cutesie little backpack. Oh, and I put it on Chase and made him carry it for a few seconds (it was kind of heavy!) and it was the Cutest. Thing. Ever.

I just love that boy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mishap of Epic Proportions

Tuesday was a VERY big day for me. For one thing, it was my very first time visiting this wonderful establishment:

I was so excited to visit TJ's for the first time! I have to say the store was smaller than I had expected it to be, but it was lined with a TON of goodies! There were so many healthy, organic, preservative-free and whole foods available in this place and the prices were way better than I had expected. I only picked up a few items on my first go 'round, now knowing that it'll take me months to try all of the different TJ's products. I can say that I am in LOVE with their organic strawberry preserves, organic corn chips and organic tomatillo & roasted yellow chili salsa. :)

So the other thing that happened that made Tuesday a very big day for me was my Mishap of Epic Proportions. I was standing in the parking lot, trying to get Chase out of his car seat while LO was milling about when I attempted to put my iPhone in my back pocket. It inadvertently got away from me and went flying towards the pavement. I wasn't too concerned because, honestly, I've dropped the thing a zillion times. I just always take a deep breath and say a little prayer before picking it up. I was beyond mortified to see what I saw when I picked it up:

Heavens to Betsy! It was shattered in the corner and had two long cracks running across the screen. I didn't have time to deal with it at the moment; I just shoved it in my pocket and moved on with my TJ's shopping excursion. Once we were inside, I called the at&t store, which happened to be located right across the street. I took another deep breath, said another quick prayer and told the guy what happened.

He told me it would be $199 to replace it.

((insert sobbing here))

I was beside myself! Especially considering it had only been 10 months since my previous iPhone loss (which ended in a pure victory for me!). I couldn't believe it. Hubs wasn't gonna be too happy with me. I called him at work and explained what happened. Surprisingly, he took it very well! Yay!

So Wednesday morning, the kids and I loaded up and headed to the mall to visit our local Apple Store to see if maybe they would feel differently than at&t and perhaps let me get away with something (anything!) less than $199. A very nice young lady approached me and confirmed I had the 10:10 am appointment, and I proceeded to tell her about the mishap. She was sympathetic and most likely saw the tears welling up in my eyes as I told the story. She confirmed I had all my data backed up (which, of course, I did!) and went ahead and replaced my phone. She said they typically charge $199 (a NEW one actually runs over $500, so the $199 is actually a discount, although it certainly doesn't feel like it), but she was going to replace it for free.


What a blessing!

A friend of mine mentioned the screen cracked on her husband's iPhone and he was given a replacement for free, but I certainly didn't believe I'd have that kind of luck! But boy was I surprised! And thankful! And grateful! And relieved!

So within hours from the Mishap of Epic Proportions, I had gone to my trusty friend, Amazon, and ordered a new case for my iPhone. It was delivered 24 hours later. Here's what's interesting to me. The kids have an iPod Touch. Before I gave it to them, I bought an Otterbox Defender case for it because, really, you can't trust young kids to take care of expensive electronics, and this mack-daddy case was sure to keep it safe from their errant drops, throws and spills.

See? It's a big ol' (filthy) case:

Mommy has learned a new lesson over the past 48 hours. Mommy can't be trusted to take care of expensive electronics, either. So that new case I ordered from Amazon for my iPhone 4?

An Otterbox Defender:

Now my sweet iPhone 4 is tucked away safely and securely within the confines of this massive yet aesthetic case.

Oh, and I should mention... that friend of mine whose husband's iPhone was replaced? Well, she has an iPhone, too. And she told me she dropped it in a parking lot, then watched TWO cars run it over. The case was banged up, but the phone? Pristine! Guess what case she had on it?

An Otterbox Defender!

So here's hoping I can make it more than 10 months before inadvertently ruining yet another iPhone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ahhh, Workout!

I am happy to report that yesterday, I survived my very first 20-minute workout with the one and only celebrity trainer, Jillian Michaels...

...via my new iFit card!

So we have this wonderfully amazing brand new treadmill that has been collecting dust in our bedroom for months now. It's literally been used 2 or 3 times. Awful, right? So I ordered one of these nifty little iFit cards that goes into our treadmill and has Jillian Michaels performing the role of Personal Trainer for your workout. The card controls the incline and speed on the treadmill, and Jillian walks you through the program, including little quips of encouragement and support.

My first workout was 20 minutes long. It was a hard 20 minutes! The speed never went past a measly 3.4 mph, but GOOD LAWD she upped the incline to 7%! Now, if you're like me, if WHEN you use your treadmill, you use it for--get this--walking! In other words, I get on it, turn it on, and start walking. I'll increase the speed in slow increments until I'm ready to pass out, but girlfriend don't never touch that incline button! I mean, really. I just want to walk. I don't want to hike Mt. Everest. So why bother with the incline when you can get a healthy walk in on level ground instead?

But apparently our friend Jillian is a BIG FAN of the incline. I am NOT looking forward to my next workout, but I figure I can do just about anything for 20-30 minutes. And it's not killing me (though it may seem like it at the time); it's actually making me stronger and (hopefully) leaner in the process.

Each iFit card contains 24 workouts that are increasingly difficult to keep your body challenged. I think the goal is to complete a workout 3x per week for 8 weeks. To be honest, I'm scared of trying workout #2. But at the same time, I'm not blind. I see that my middle section, thighs (and can assume butt) have all put on some serious poundage over the past 6 months. I notice my clothes aren't fitting the way they used to. I sense that my energy level is in the toilet. I've got to get in control of two things: (1) Food and (2) Exercise. A good friend of mine shared a wise, motivational message he received from a dear friend of his: if you can't muster up the drive and determination to do it for yourself (meaning to work out and be healthy), then DO IT FOR YOUR FAMILY. That makes perfect sense to me, and I'm gonna give it my very best! And now, I have all of you to keep me accountable! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Welcome . . . Back??

So I haven't been blogging much lately. Have you noticed? I can't really pinpoint an exact reason why. I think in a way I felt like technology was taking over my life and I had little to no say in the matter. I was drawn to tweet the latest cute pic of Chase, check in on Facebook to see what my friends and family are up to (since most of don't have real-time relationships anymore) and had a tiny, nagging feeling that I HAD to blog whether I felt like it or not. So I've taken a little technology break and have told my Facebook page, my Twitter account, and this here blog WHO IS IN CHARGE (if you aren't following me, it's me. I'm in charge. Of my technologies. Got it?). Anywho, I've decided I don't hate blogging and in fact I've actually missed it a bit. Everyone knows good blogs are updated daily, so I'm gonna try to get back in the habit. Besides, this all started out with me sharing about a dining experience gone terribly, horribly wrong, and really, if you guys have stuck with me with my rambling commentary on raw meat, then surely you're still interested in what is going on in my world these days! ;)

So let's see... Here are a few of the latest updates from our little world...

Chase is doing wonderfully following his ear tube surgery last week. He's much more attentive, seems very interested in watching our mouths when we speak, and has picked up new words like "on" and "in" and "bye" -- making me one very happy and proud mama! He's so very smart and continues to amaze me every day. I am so grateful to have him in my life and am beyond blessed that he's doing so wonderfully health-wise. God is so very good!

I am very excited to share that I have recently taken on a volunteer position with Palmetto Hearts, a non-profit organization serving South Carolina families affected by Congenital Heart Defects. I have taken on the role of Director of Community Programs, and am so excited about meeting other heart families from across the state! My biggest task is planning our annual Pediatric Cardiology Reunion in Charleston, SC on September 17th. This is where our heart families from across the state get together along with the surgeons, doctors, nurses and other staff from the Pediatric Cardiology department at MUSC Children's Hospital for an evening of fun, games, food and fellowship with each other. I'm so excited to be responsible for putting this event together -- from start to finish -- and am hoping for a VERY successful event! Because of the additional time and attention required to serve in this role, I regrettably had to resign from serving alongside several wonderful heart mamas through Sisters by Heart. They are amazing and are continuing to make a positive impact in the heart community. Please continue to lend them your support!

LO will be FOUR next month. FOUR, people! I am amazed (she was 10 months old when I started this blog, and that seems like just yesterday)! Sheesh. I am also VERY hopeful that we will leave the Tyrannical Three's in the dust and that FOUR will be the start of new and improved behavior. Seriously. I cannot tell you how awful the past several months have been when it comes to disciplining her and attempting to get her to listen and behave. It's been an uphill battle and we've been losing them week after week. Good thing is, we haven't lost the war! I know as a parent it can be very difficult to handle the daily struggles of bad behavior, enforce discipline all while trying to instill quality character traits like honesty and compassion. I know I need to do better about being patient with her and always remember she's not even 4 years old yet, and not to get angry or frustrated with her. But it's hard. I really enjoyed the "Have a New Kid by Friday" method I tried a few months ago, but WOW was it ever difficult to stick to! It was a parenting style radically different than my own, but I think it's worth revisiting. I've also pulled out "The New Strong-Willed Child" by James Dobson and am hoping to glean some wisdom from this best-seller as well.

There are lots of other things going on, but I think I'll leave it at this for now. Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

Also, thanks for your patience with me and for not abandoning me considering my lack of recent blogging. I'm doing this because I want to (not because I feel like I have to) and because I truly value the input and support I receive from you through your comments.

Friday, June 10, 2011

All Good

Just a quick update to say that Chase did amazingly well for his appointments and procedure at MUSC this week. He had the tubes put in first case on Wednesday (started at 7:30 AM) and we were discharged by 9 AM. Coming out of the anesthesia was pretty hard on him this time around. All of his other procedures (i.e., two heart surgeries and two heart catheterizations) required deeper anesthesia (obviously) so he was kept "under" and comfortable for several hours afterwards. This time it was different. It was more important to be sure he was stable and breathing well than to keep him comfortable (unfortunately). So this meant that when we were called back to see him in recovery, his anesthesiologist (whom we LOVE dearly) was trying his best to comfort Chase, to no avail. Mommy took over, cuddled up with him and tried to get him some juice. He still was NOT happy or comfortable. They ended up giving him some morphine for the pain, but didn't want to put him out with anything stronger than that if they could help it. I was having a hard time getting him to relax and BOY is that kid strong! He was arching his back and flailing in my arms -- it was all I could do to keep him from falling off my lap! But luckily we were able to get him to relax and calm down, without having to give him anything stronger than morphine and some Tylenol.

We were on our way home after relaxing at the hotel for about an hour or so, and had an uneventful trip home. I've had the joy of putting drops in his ears 2x/day for 3 days following his procedure, and (not surprisingly) he's been incredibly awesome with allowing me to put the drops in and hold him on each side for 5 minutes afterwards. I flipped out a bit yesterday morning when he woke up because he had a lot of dried blood outside his right ear. Then I put him in his chair while I got breakfast ready, and noticed him digging in his right ear with his finger, which was then covered with fresh blood. ACK! It kept bleeding slightly for about an hour, even with cotton balls in his ear. I spoke with MUSC and they assured me it was normal to see some bleeding for up to 2 days following the procedure, so that helped me relax a bit. Plus I haven't seen any other problems since yesterday morning and today they both look great!

Of course he's been back to his happy, adorable little self since a few hours after the procedure. It didn't take him long to bounce back and hubs and I feel like we've already seen some improvement. He seems more interested in conversations and is starting to improve some of his sounds. I hope it continues and we see more and more improvements in the coming weeks/months.

Thanks to those of you who lifted us up in prayer for Chase's procedure and our travel to/from MUSC. We appreciate the love and support that the blogging community provides to us throughout our journey.

My sweet little loves...

Pictured above: Chase, Monkey, Beary, LO and Corrina Shorrina

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Scheduled Visit and Procedure at MUSC

SOOOOO... if you think about us, say a little prayer for Chase this week. We'll be heading to MUSC for Chase's ENT appointment with Dr. H (the same doc who did his two bronchoscopies post-Norwood, whom we really like) for a second opinion about having tubes put in. If she agrees tubes are needed, the procedure is already on the schedule for this week.

I asked Chase how he felt about another surgery at the hospital...

Not a fan. Who could blame him?

Here's the background story:

Chase started Speech Therapy about 2 months ago. About a month or so in, his ST asked if Chase had ever been tested for fluid in his middle ear. I thought, um, the pediatrician looks in his ears at each of his well visits, so I guess so?? But she said there's a specific test, called a tympanogram, that checks for fluid in the middle ear. She was thinking it was possible Chase had this fluid issue because typically when little ones aren't able to repeat sounds and specifically aren't saying any consonant sounds (P, B, C, etc.), a lot of times they have this fluid in the middle ear that gives them "underwater" hearing or "swimmer's ear," making it difficult to distinguish sounds. We were heading in for his 18 month check-up the following week, so I made sure to ask for the test. No surprise, our pediatrician (whom we don't really like) was unable to administer the test (she ended up having her nurse attempt it since she didn't know how to even use the thing, also to no avail) and we were sent away with a referral to a local ENT.

We went to the ENT, had the tympanogram completed, and it did in fact reveal fluid in Chase's right ear. I was quite stunned! This child has never ONCE in his life been treated for an ear infection. He's never ONCE exhibited the signs or symptoms of an ear infection. The ONLY "problem" we've noticed has been his slight speech delay. So the ENT doc comes in (for the record, he's 212 years old), checks his ears, agrees with the findings from the tympanogram, and sends us on our way with a prescription for an antibiotic and tells us to return in 2 weeks.

Fast-forward after 2 weeks of meds, we return to the ENT. Well, Dr. Dinosaur looks in both ears and says there's still fluid in both ears ((both?? I thought it was just the right one 2 weeks ago??)) and says he wants us to repeat the tympanogram. Super. After waiting with both kids for another 30 minutes, we were able to knock out the 13 second test (literally), which again only indicated fluid in his right ear only, and wait AGAIN to see the doc. He comes hobbling in and announces, "Gotta put tubes in!"


I said, "Seriously? Is that really the next step? Two weeks of antibiotics and now tubes? Is there anything else we can do??" Obviously I wasn't keen on the idea of putting Chase through another surgery with general anesthesia, no matter how "minor" or "routine" it would be.

His response: "We can do nothing. I guess that's something."

Seriously. I almost hit the floor. How cooperative and helpful, right? Geez. He started talking about getting the procedure scheduled, blah blah blah... and I interrupted him and said if anything is going to be done, it would not be done here. I turned to his nurse and told her she needed to contact Dr. H at MUSC and schedule an appointment with her for a second opinion.

So that's where we are. Of course I realize putting tubes in is a quick procedure, but it DOES require general anesthesia, which you know is not our favorite idea when it comes to our Top 10 Things to Put Chase Through (as if he hasn't already been through enough!).  We also have another consult scheduled while we're at MUSC with another department about another procedure we have been contemplating. We plan to ask lots of questions and just "wait and see" how we feel after that consultation to determine if we want to move forward with the additional procedure or not.

But for now, the plan is most likely to put tubes in our little man's ears one day this week.

So that's that. Prayers are appreciated.