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!  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Counting Down Until Lazy Summer Days!

Just a few more weeks left of school. The girls are looking forward to staying up and sleeping in late. We are hoping to keep them busy with swimming lessons and guitar lessons during the Summer.  Certainty they will hangout with their friends a lot.  Big sis and I want to start jogging together a couple times a week in the early hours before it gets hot. As a family, we would love to explore new fun outdoor places and take many trips to the parks.
Mechanical Baby Simulator Teen Living Assignment
Over a weekend for a teen living class, big sister brought home a mechanical baby doll. As you can see in the left bottom photo, she wasn't thrilled since she was rolling her eyes... She was graded on how well she handled her baby (burping, changing, feeding, rocking, head support, etc). No surprise she didn't get much sleep and was terrified to go in public with him because he was very fussy.  Not only did she put up with him crying a lot during the night, she also was woken up by her real baby brother too. After completing her assignment, she admitted to me that she prefers her real baby brother over the doll any day because the doll was very difficult (like the newborn stage, lol)!  I'm glad she got a reality check on what it's like to have a baby and hopefully she learned that parenthood is not easy at all!
End of the Year Concert 

Big Sister had her last choir concert on May 14, 2014, which was held at the high school on the football field.  While preforming on stage at the junior high on Tuesday May 13, 2014, Big sister fell down while doing an interactive dance and choir number on stage. She was very embarrassed and luckily didn't get hurt.
Playing at the neighborhood Park and Miller Park

We have been enjoying the warmer weather and taking trips to the parks! Baby brother loves being outdoors!  We love taking walks, playing sports (tossing a football and basketball), and checking out new parks. We live by two parks that are minutes away from our house. We look forward to finding other neat parks near the area that we haven't been before.
Miller Park (American Fork)
Yikes, He is Eleven Months Old
Milestones:  Life has not been easy adjusting to little brother's medical problems this past year, but I'm grateful we got through it. At this point, I am hopeful that he will be stable. He still has some catching up to do developmentally!  After his surgery, he finally started babbling more since he couldn't move around much.  He loves to clap and say "bababababa", "mmmmm", and "ma ma"! I was nearly in tears when I first heard him say "ma ma"! As for feeding, he can finally drink well through a straw and cup. I recently started him on some chopped bananas, mandarin oranges,  peas, and baby cookies since he is very sensitive to different textures.  He still eats a lot of stage 2 foods. He is very reluctant to try new foods and and hopefully get used to new textures without gagging and throwing up.  A few weeks ago, his GI doctor increased his calories and volume by adding Boost Essentials in his diet because he wasn't gaining enough weight. He didn't tolerate the new diet plan very well due to throwing up and feeling full all the time. We are still figuring out a great solution that will help him gain weight with no adverse effects. In the meantime, we may need to accept the fact that he will gain weight slowly instead of making him uncomfortable with excessive tube feedings and a lot of Boost Essentials. I think a gradual increase would make a difference. Thankfully he has so many people supporting him (dietitian, pediatrician, and OT feeding therapist).  As for gross motor skills, he can properly get in and out of sitting position and is starting to pull himself up to stand. He still isn't crawling or walking yet. In due time once he figures out how to crawl or walk, he will be very actively moving around thanks to his physical therapist and his childhood developmental specialist from Kids on the Move helping him achieve developmental goals! He is definitely as his shirt says my "First Place Champ"! I admire his strength!

Monday, April 28, 2014

I love my Tubie Baby!

Dear Son,

On March 28, 2014, after careful consideration, we proceeded with a 3rd surgery in less than a year for a G-tube placement.  For several months, you have failed to gain adequate weight due to pain from previous hernias.  As a result from the hernias, you developed poor eating behaviors such as a bottle aversion and acid reflux. You also have fallen behind developmentally, which the doctors and I believe it is due to you not getting enough nourishment. It was very scary when you would gag and throw up your entire meal, refuse your bottle, or not drink enough fluids during the day. Since three doctors encouraged us to get the G-tube, we decided it was the right solution to help you gain some weight in the following months.  Our goal is to get you 10-20% on the growth chart.  The tube hopefully will only need to be in for six months.  I intend for you to eat normal during the day and supplement as needed at night. Additionally if you throw up your meals, we will then supplement too. 

During the early morning of surgery day, you were brave, happy, and full of smiles.   In fact, when the surgical nurse wrapped you up in warm blanket and took you away to the surgery room you didn't scream at all.  After surgery when you woke up in the recovery room, I was there to cuddle you.  You were transferred to the pediatric floor and Dad and I stayed with you until you got discharged from the hospital the next day.  The surgery went a little different than the doctor expected. Due to adhesions from your previous surgeries, the surgeon had to open you up again from your precious chest scar instead of doing a laparoscopy method.

  Remarkably, you healed pretty well after three weeks and seem back to your normal routine of rolling, sitting, wanting to stand. The only complication we had was a little granulation (skin healing near the site) that had to be addressed by the doctor otherwise it has been okay adjusting to the G-tube routine.  I'm happy that you have been tolerating the night feedings well and on the days you struggle (gag and vomit) we feed you through the tube. We named your iv pole "Stanley"! Big sister and little sister are very helpful in assisting Daddy and me with your tube feedings at night. We are happy that you are gaining weight and babbling more. In due time, I bet you will catch up on gross motor skills when you are ready.

Love, Mom and Dad

Monday, April 21, 2014

Student of the Week

On April 17, 2014, little sister was student of the week. It was a total surprise for her!  The teacher's room Mom got her a purple balloon and favorite treat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. My assignment was to write a paragraph about her and bring a picture of her.  The class had to guess the clues who the mystery person was. Sister knew right away it was her and after they guessed it correctly, little brother and I came in as her special guests. Then the class asked her questions and little brother and I got to eat school lunch with her.  Little sister was very happy and felt so special that day! 

The following paragraph is what I wrote about her:
Savannah Jolene Free was excited to join her family. In fact, she came four weeks early on April 15, 2003.  Savannah is the middle child.  She has an older sister Audrey and little baby brother Zachary.  She also has a small poodle dog named Jagger, which she loves to cuddle, run outside with him, and help feed him.  Savannah is unique because since birth she had one stubborn kidney that didn’t want to grow.  It is a functioning tiny kidney that is only 3 cm long and thankfully she also has a normal growing kidney too.  Since Savannah was a baby she had curly locks and loved to smile.  Her hobbies include the following: listening to music by One Direction and Taylor Swift, reading, helping Mom with her little brother, playing card or board games with her family, and doing anything creative such as drawing, sculpting, and painting.  Her favorite foods are strawberries, Nutella on toast, cheese, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Savannah is silly, polite, helpful, kind, and sensitive. The world is a brighter place with Savannah’s beautiful smiling face!  XOXO