Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Goodbye Stanley

 On September 9, 2014, we were given the instructions from little brother's dietitian to start weaning him from his G-tube since he finally reached 20 pounds!  It will be hard work to calorie pack him and get him to drink Carnation Instant Breakfast, but we are absolutely thrilled that he no longer needs over night feeds and determined to keep it that way!  Our goal is having the doctor officially take the G-tube out next spring!  Stanley is the named we picked for little brother's feeding pole.  Little brother has been using "Stanley"every night since March 30, 2013 (thanks to IHC Home Health Care). We can thank Stanley for helping little brother gain weight and making major milestones, but we also have encountered a lot of unexpected uh ohs too!
1.  It takes a lot of extra time to get him ready for bed (open new feeding bag, calculate fluids, prime his tubing that connects to his feeding bag, change his diaper, put on loose fitting pajamas (absolutely not zipper kind whatsoever), place gauze pad over g-tube site, put on g-tube extension, tape tube extension two times to secure it in place, flush tube, feed him a small bottle, connect tube to his g-tube extension, read a book or listen to music, rock him to sleep, etc! The key is he has to be asleep before we will lie him down otherwise he will play with his tubing, ugh!!!
2.  I have failed to properly close the tube right after flushing the tube! As a result, water or Boost Essentials leaked all over me and baby, yikes!
3.  I didn't attach his tube extension from his g-tube site by turning it properly and within minutes Boost leaked all over his clothes!
4. Due to little brother preferring to sleep on his stomach, occasionally his g-tube extension pops off and leaks Boost all over his clothes, bedding, etc!  What a rude awakening and mess for us to clean up! Now we tape the extension on the top near the g-tube button to keep it in place!
5.  For whatever reason, on a few occasions the iv pump stops pumping boost and says it's done when there is still a lot of fluids in the bag! Huh?!
6. The machine freaks out if we try to prime before it cycles through the rate and dose numbers after turning it on. So then we have to shut it down and try again! The key is patience!
7. While baby brother tosses and turns in his sleep he gets the cord wrapped around his body and a couple times his neck, ack! So scary! I recall his doctor noticed his umbilical cord had a small knot after birth probably from him flipping and moving around in the womb. He moves all over the place while he sleeps!
8. I'm not a huge fan of the chocolate Boost! Not only does it stain his clothes, bedding, etc when his extension tube pops off during a feeding, his bowl movements are shockingly similar to the color of his chocolate Boost the next day! Little brother also seems upset during the night with the chocolate Boost compared to the vanilla or strawberry.
9. Obviously, it's been challenging to get him to self soothe and sleep train him while tube feeding him when we cannot leave the room until she is finally sleeping! Luckily, I've been able to get him to take naps during the days without a hassle. He can go to sleep without me holding or rocking him now!
10. After his tube feed is done, occasionally we wake him up when we disconnect the tube extension from his button and rip the tape off his side. I am surprised that he can sleep through it most of the time!We definitely won't miss Stanley! Goodbye Stanley!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Mini Summer Vacation, Back to School, and 15 Month Checkup

Mini Summer Vacation

On August 13-17, 2014, We drove down to Mesa Arizona to attend a wedding/sealing for our nephew and spent some time with Grandpa and Sharon Free. We drove during the late afternoon and night to make it more comfortable on little brother.  Surprisingly, it was our first time experiencing Arizona during the summer heat. Every time we stepped outside it felt like an oven (dry and very hot).  At this point, we decided we could never survive in Arizona's summers. We love being outside and cannot imagine paying for the AC running non-stop. Thankfully, Grandpa Free had a summing pool to cool off. We went swimming a couple times while there. It was fun being among our Arizona family members celebrating the wedding of Danial and Rebekah. In fact, Rebekah's family did a fun family tradition! They threw Danial a tool party. We had dinner, guests brought tools wrapped in newspaper or paper bags, and had a great time getting to know Rebekah's family better. When the happy couple opened our gift, we got to ask them a question. It was a lot of fun and they got a lot of amazing tools!
First Day Back to School
Summer of 2014 came and went really fast this year. Usually I'm ready for the girls to go back to school due to the non-stop boredom complaints, but this year I was sad they had to go back to school. The first day of school was on August 18th for big sis and little sis started the next day. Big sis is now a sophomore in high school.  Wow, I can hardly believe it! Am I really that old? Didn't I just graduate from high school not too long ago? Also, 2014-2015 is little sister's last year of elementary school. It's crazy how fast kids grow up! Good luck to big sisters and I hope they have a successful school year! Go Vikings and Grizzlies, GRRRRRRRRR! 
Fifteen Month Old Check Up and Shots
Milestones: On August 22, 2014, little brother had his 15 months old check up. He weighs 19 lbs. 4 oz. and is 31.25 inches long. His head circumference was 18.9 inches.  He is slowly making some progress. To our surprise, he is growing in length, but continues to struggle to gain much weight. I'm happy he is at least on the charts! As for his developmental milestones, he isn't talking much or walking yet... I cannot believe he prefers to scoot on his bum all day long. In the past, he has taken a few steps, but for whatever reason, I think he is not confident enough to walk yet. His doctor warned me that he probably wouldn't walk on time... It's frustrating to see many other toddlers younger than him already walking.  Even though he scoots around, he is getting into everything and opening cupboard doors yet. He does occasionally take some kitchen food out from the "lazy Susan" and pull out all the dish towels and bibs out of the drawers. We finally had to install child proof latches under the sinks. Walking brings on more toddler challenges, but I want him to be normal just like any other toddler his age. I have to keep reminding myself that he had three surgeries and I shouldn't compare him to others because of what he has went through. In the meantime, he continues to have monthly early intervention appointments via Kids on the Move (physical therapy and speech). He had occupational therapy discontinued last month due to making most of his feeding goals and his weight seems stable (not losing but slowly gaining)! We are so proud of him! If for whatever reason, he has issues again his occupational therapist will come back as needed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Our Summer Staycation Activities

We rarely go on out of state vacations.  So I try to find fun activities near home for the kids to do during the summer.  During the Summer of 2014, we went to the carnival for Strawberry days, ate waffles from the Waffle Love Truck, explored a new children's museum, did a day trip to Salt Lake City to see Wheeler Farm, Liberty Park, and Antelope Island.
Strawberry Days
I keep saying every year we will buy rodeo tickets, but sadly John is always out of town on a business trip during the week of Strawberry Days! Hopefully we have better luck next year! However, we went to the Strawberry Days parade and carnival.
Waffle Love Truck
Most people from Utah should know about the Waffle Love Truck! If you like them on Facebook you can find where the truck is located. It changes every single day. AMAZING WAFFLES!
Museum of Natural Curiosity
We went to the new Children's Museum at Thanksgiving Point.  The Museum of Natural Curiosity was fun for all ages. I cannot wait to take baby brother back and do all the cool toddler activities.
  Wheeler Farm
A cheap activity for all the family and furry friends. There are spots for a picnic, hiking trails, farm animals, pond filled with ducks, shop, wagon rides, a playground, etc. There is a very interesting tree that is perfect for family photograph!
Liberty Park
There are many things to do at Liberty Park, which is a large like Central Park in New York City. We only explored the south end of the park.  We had a picnic there, rode some amusement rides, and went paddle boating. Our dog Jagger met many other furry friends.  We would like to make another trip there to see the Tracy Aviary, check out the playgrounds, swimming pool, splash pad, and gardens.
  Antelope Island (The Great Salt Lake)
For $10.00 a car load, you get to play at the salty and sandy beach of Great Salt Lake, see a visitors center, eat a  picnic, observe wild life such as antelope, buffalo, deer, birds, and explore the Fielding Garr Ranch museum. Additionally, it's a beautiful scenic drive through the Island!
There are many beautiful and fun places to explore in Utah during the summer time!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cooling off from the Summer Heat

Creekside Park, Alpine Utah
During the first week of June, we went to Creekside Park in Alpine Utah to play at the park and splash pad! We look forward to exploring some more of Utah's splash pads this summer!
Summer Haircuts 
There is nothing like a fresh haircut during the summer to keep you cool. On June 29, 2014, my girls went to Great Clips and had several inches of their hair cut off and we got cupcakes at Cravings for dessert afterwards!
Before Haircuts
After Haircuts with Cupcakes

Manila Creek Pond
In July the temperatures were in the upper nineties. So the kids cooled off and made sand castles at the sandy pond that is located just a few minutes away from our house! 
Slip n' Slide
We layered the slip n' slide with a large blue tarp for extra slippery fun! The girls also added dish soap. Little brother was not a huge fan of the slip n' slide, but the girls sure had fun though!
We Love Snow Cones!
In our town, there are several snow cone shacks near downtown!  There are so many yummy flavors! 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Grilling and Fireworks

We went to Denny's for breakfast and accomplished a lot of errands during the day.  To our surprise, the outlets in Traverse Mountain had some great 4th of July sales. We bought a few things for baby brother and I got some new white sandals. Afterwards, the girls and I did 4th of July manicures and pedicures! Later that evening, we gathered at our usual spot for BBQ and fireworks with some extended family. My niece brought a playpen for the babies to hang out! Little brother absolutely loved the fireworks especially the sparklers!  He was mesmerized by anything that exploded colorful lights through the air!  Pleasant Grove does a great firework show that lasts about 30 minutes long!  It's not much of a hassle to get out of there compared to Stadium of Fire since we live down the street.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finally Summer

Memorial Day

We were invited to go camping in Nevada, but because of little bro needing g-tube feeds during the night we decided to pass on the idea of roughing it without electricity!  So we had a very relaxing Memorial Day. First, we got up early and went to breakfast to Kneaders Bakery and Cafe since we have heard great things about their strawberry and cream french toast.  Oh boy, they were delicious!  I choose a healthier option (low sugar) on their menu the croissant egg, cheese, and ham sandwich, which was tasty as well. Afterwards, we took baby brother home for his morning nap while Daddy went fishing with his nephew in South Jordan.  Later that day, we went to Manila Pond. Little bro and big sister loved walking through the water while little sis went to a friend's house to hang out!
End of the School Year
During the last week of school, little sis had a field trip to the space center, dance festival, fun run, field day, and awards ceremony in her class, which she received the Best Day Dreamer Award and Most likely to be an Archaeologist.  As for big sister, she went to Lagoon Amusement park and got several awards such as Viking Citizen, Viking and Attendance, and Viking Scholar. In fact, big sis was on the honor roll all school year!  We are very proud of their accomplishments this past school year and hope they will continue to be successful! 
Welcome to Toddlerhood Little Bro!
As for our happy little toddler, he is making some amazing progress on milestones. He loves to pull up to stand, can stand without support for a few seconds, cruise all over the place, and scoots instead of crawling! Little bro is finally eating table foods instead of stage 2 purees and drinking cow's milk! When he gets together with our extended family, he loves playing with his second cousins!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Baby Brother is One!

 12 Incredible Months, 2014!
 Credits: Template is by The Coffee Shoppe Blog, I used the Delilah Kit by Shabby Princess and grumble for the font.
Twelve Facts about Baby Brother
1.  He gives us the best hugs and makes us smile every day!
2.  He has four sharp teeth, two adorable ears, a big head full of mischief, and a wicked chest to navel scar to show off later in life.
3.  He had three surgeries this past year three hernia repairs at three months old, a diaphragmatic hernia repair at six months old, and a g-tube placement at ten months old. We are so blessed that he was very brave and strong!
4.  He loves story time, taking a bath, music, being outdoors, clapping, and stroller rides.
5.  He can be very stubborn during physical therapy, but we cannot blame him!
6.  He can pull himself up to stand, but no signs of crawling or walking yet.
7.  His favorite toy is the $2.99 stacking cups from Ikea.
8.  He loves to rub his face on soft cuddly stuffed animals and blankets.
9.  He loves to bite his sister's knees and shoulders, ouch!
10.  He loves his puppy Jagger and shares his food with him.
11.  He is very curious, detailed oriented, and smart.
12.He is finally babbling and I cried when he said "mama" for the first time!
Happy Birthday, Brother!

We celebrated little brother's 1st birthday on May 22, 2014 at home with our little family since he doesn't like to be around big crowds. I was too lazy to bake a cake or cupcakes since most of our household was sick this past week. Unfortunately, I caught the nasty cold going around on his special day!  As you can see, he made a big mess with the blue frosting and didn't eat much! He got more a kick out of eating Cheerios with blue frosting! We bought him a few toys to help with gross motor skills (his first car to scoot on and an activity table to help him stand up). We also got him some First Builders Mega Blocks, bubbles, rubber duckies for bath time, books, and Mr. Potato Head. He was very happy and loved his new toys! What an incredible blessing to have him in our lives today! We love him so much!
Bath Time is the Best with Silly Daddy!
Milestones: On May 23, 2014, He went to his 12 month old check up. Little bro weighs 18.1 pounds (6%), 29 inches long (18%), and 18.9 (93%) inches for head circumference! Wow, he had a big head for sure and is very smart!  The doctors are not concerned with his large head because it has been measuring big all along. I'm happy that our boy is definitely growing and we are finally doing something right to get him on the weight gain path! Woohooo, Go baby brother! Keep up the great work! The doctor and I would like him to see him at 15%-20% on the weight chart at his 18 month old check up. As for gross motor skills, he loves pulling to stand, can get in and out of sitting position very well, and is very close to crawling. I bet he will be crawling any day now and then we will work on walking skills! He is making such an improvement since receiving the g-tube!  I bet the extra nightly feedings via g-tube are making a huge difference since he being properly nourished by Boost Essentials!