Pumpkin Patch 2011

Last weekend we were able to make it our for our annual trip to Remlinger Farms.  The weather was beautiful, the boys had a blast and Dan and I couldn't ask for a better way to spend our sunday... together!

Happy Halloween!


My mom...

...she pretty much rocks!
She is the most kind, giving, loving and selfless person I know.  She has taught me everything from how to remove baby poop stains to cooking the best corn bread ever.  But most importantly she taught me to be the mother I am today.  Her love for her family is like nothing I have ever seen before.  Each one of us knows that she would do anything for us whether we ask her to or not.
Seven years ago our world was rocked.  My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I vividly remember getting the phone call while sitting at the dinner table with Dan at our home in Spanaway. 
 But, never once did my mother back down or feel sorry for herself.  
She fought with both fists up... and won. 
This week she is 7 years cancer free and finally able to come off her cancer medications. 
Thank you for being the best mom, nana, friend, babysitter, coffee companion, launder, seamstress, cook, and confidant a girl could ask for.  I wouldn't be who I am today without you.
We love you to the moon and back.
Here's to another 7 years cancer free!  


Still learning...

Being a mom to 3 boys comes with a steep learning curve.  Six years later I am still learning the ways of my little ones and just when I think I got it, they go and change things on me.  

A few of the things I have learned...
Sitting in a poopy diaper is much more fun than actually getting it changed.
Legos, inevitably, will end up in the vacuum.  
Boys can be drama queens too.
Star Wars is apparently a right of passage in the boy world.
Any toy, and I mean any, can be turned into a weapon.
And just because they turn barbies into guns doesn't mean they are going to grow up to be violent.
Apparently, wearing underwear to school is optional.
Putting dirty clothes in the hamper is a foreign concept no matter how many time you remind them.
They will find potty talk extremely amusing for many years, much to my chagrin.
They can be very finicky about what they wear.
When all else fails, send them outside.
There is a special bond between brothers.
 They love all things bugs, and like to use it against me.
They give the best snuggles.
No matter how big and strong they act, at the end of the day they always need their momma.


He's a playa'

This little dude, that is.

I headed back to work almost 2 weeks ago now.  I have worked a total of 5 shifts.  My mother and my bestie have done a tremendous job taking care of my littles.  However, it seems that this little guy has them both wrapped around his little finger already.  Prior to going back to work we were at least able to get into a better day time routine with at least 2 good naps a day, in his bed.  Well, apparently he has different plans when he is with Nana and Margaret.  As hard as they try (and they do!), G man is having nothing to do with napping for either of them.  He's playing them I tell ya', because he is a champ when it comes to napping for me!

...now if we could just get the night time thing down.




We are loving these last sunny days!  So sad to see them go.



{4 months}

Baby G,
You are 4 months old (and one week)!  
I can hardly believe it because while in your 4 short months we have been through a lot, it has gone by way too fast!  
You are definitely no longer an infant but rather a baby.  You carry on quite the conversations with all your babbling and cooing.  You are trying your very darndest to roll over only to have mommy push you back every time telling you you are not allowed to grow up.  You love to grab anything and everything but then quickly forget it is in your hand and drop it.  The exersaucer is new to you, but you would much rather be held.  Unlike your brothers, you don't love your binky.  And while this is probably a good thing, your daddy and I don't quite know what to do.  So we feed you... and eat you do!  Since surgery you have really filled out.  You are a more efficient breast feeder and, with a little encouragement, have taken to the bottle when mommy works.  However, naps are not your forte.  You take 1-2 naps in your bed and cat naps on the go for mommy, but you seem to be giving Nana and Margaret a bit harder time.  Secretly, I am happy that you are a mommy's boy but I am sure they would appreciate you sleeping.  Your daddy and I agree you are our happiest baby.  Your giggle warms my heart!  If you are not sleeping or eating, you are smiling
Mommy finally finished your room and you have officially moved in.  While I miss you being next to me you are slowly learning to sleep through the night, thank goodness.  I'm not gonna lie though, this weekend when daddy was away, I brought you to bed with me... and loved every minute of snuggling you.  
Thank you for beign a part of our family, little man.  I couldn't imagine our lives without you!




Saying goodbye

I am not quite sure why, but I miss it.  The cleft, that is.  Don't get me wrong, I love Graham's new smile. It is becoming him.  But for 3.5 months my little guy lived with something that made him unique, made him who he was.  It was how he was born and how we fell in love with him.  It makes me a little sad when I look at him and forget what he looked like before the repair.  He is beautiful, was beautiful and will always be beautiful!  I guess, like in all things, time will make it easier.
Love you to pieces little man!



Your smile...

Melts my HEART


Groundhogs day

Every morning Alexander wakes up and proudly announces to us that it is his first day of school, no matter if it's a school day or not.  I think it his way of politely reminding me that I have yet to blog about his starting of preschool.  Sorry bud, here ya go...

Alex has started pre-3's at the Children's School.  The first day was a bit of a scene, as all 10 kids were crying, clinging to their mom's and pounding at the door as we pry them off of us and huddle in hallway just to make sure they were going to stop crying.  Me, being the seasoned mom, jetted.  I knew he would be fine and I wasn't going to waste my 2.5 hours of freedom standing at the door.  I know, I am a horrible mom.  It wasn't even 10 minutes later that I got a text message from Teacher Cinda letting me know that Alex was just fine and had settled in with a fist full of trains.   
Every day since then he stays with no problems.  He has made some good friends and every day when you ask him he says he played with Elsa.  I am pretty sure it's just that her name is the only one he knows because I have never once seen him with her.


Greenlake Adventures

No other place can mommy get her exercise in while huffing it around Greenlake pushing 2 boys in the suburban of strollers while Alex searches for turtles, ducks and bunnies.  And Graham, well he usually takes his morning nap.  We all win.  And sometimes we even get some sunshine and fabulous photo ops.  



Now what?

As a mother I have spent the last week in awe of my little guy.  In awe of the doctors and the amazing work that they do.  It hasn't been all easy though.  First, I am having to adjust to his new face.  As happy as I am, it's still not the baby that I brought home from the hospital.  There is a part of me that misses his cleft.  It was who he was when he came into our lives and he was perfect.  Every day it gets a little easier. With each smile I am reminded of why this was so important.  After all, this isn't about me.  It's about Graham and providing him with the best life possible.
I keep finding steri-strips stuck around the house.  As much as I am happy that I no longer have to tape my baby's face up there is part of me that misses it.  I don't know why.  It's just how I feel.  Maybe it's the fact that he is getting older.  He's had his surgery that we have been thinking about and worrying for the past 9 months and now we are done.  There has been milestones to achieve over the last 9 months.  First his birth, then feeding.  The taping began and then the NAM.  The weekly appointments.  Now we are done.  Life as we know it is back to normal and that feels weird.
Second, we are adjusting to a severely out of sorts little guy.  It's not who he was before surgery.  I am not going to complain because he has every right to be out of sorts, but that doesn't mean that I am enjoying the sleepless nights again.  He's waking up every 2-3 hours and won't go back to sleep without nursing.  He is refusing the bottle, refusing a binky and I am going back to work next week!  It stresses me out a bit.  We have reverted to getting naps in the swing and car seat and he is refusing to be put down in his crib.  I don't mind dealing with all this but when I have to rely on someone else to do it for 12 hours, it worries me.  I am hoping for some major changes in the next 5 days.
Our post op journey has been full of ups and downs.  The first few days were a honeymoon.  Saturday Graham's sutures were slightly red and he was starting to get more fussy and refusing to eat.  I called the plastic surgeon on call and they assured me all was fine.  They also prescribed us some tylenol with codeine thinking that maybe constipation from the oxycontin may be playing into his fussiness.  The night was rough to say the least.  He was awake from 1245 until 530 am and mostly inconsolable.  I was exhausted.  Sunday came around and we got a call from the on call plastic surgeon.  She was checking in and said she had been in touch with Dr. Hopper (who was across the country).   He wanted me to send a picture via e-mail just to make sure that things were looking ok.  Within a half an hour of sending the picture a prescription for Keflex was called in and an appointment was scheduled for monday morning.  Wow is all I can say!  Sunday was a replay of the night before.  He slept off and on in his swing.  Luckily, my mother-in-law was here and took over at 5 am so that I could catch a few hours of sleep.
Monday morning we headed off to clinic where Dr. Hopper was pleased with decrease in redness after starting the antibiotics.  We also stopped all narcotics now were just using tylenol and ibuprofen.  I was hoping that things would start to improve with the infection and pain under control.
Each day is getting a bit easier, but he is still not back to his pre-operation norm.
Friday was a big day!  Graham and I headed back to Children's to get his sutures removed.  All of the cosmetic areas were sutured with regular sutures while the ones inside his mouth are all dissolvable.  This is surgeon specific and ours believes that non dissolvable ones leave less of a scar.  After seeing the results, I will have to agree.   Although it was a feat getting them out, it was well worth the struggle.  Even at 8 days post-op you can hardly tell that there is anything there.  We are now using a silicone gel on the scar for the next 6 weeks.  This will help with the scaring and long term results.

I never get sick of looking at these.  I am truely in awe!