Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Infamous Backpack

For those of you that were just chomping at the bit to know what the infamous backpack looked like....you can now breathe a sigh of relief. I made sure to get a picture of her wearing it this morning for all of my loyal readers. ;)

I have a sneaking suspision that the lovely pink colored tail coming out of the backpack will slowly be coming out, strand by strand, this year.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Samantha's First Day of School

It's official. I am the mother of a Kindergartner. Where oh where did the time go? Sammi was pretty excited about starting school today, but I think mainly because Jason and I were making such a big deal about it. Looking back, I have no idea why. She is already used to being at daycare or preschool, so not being with us during the day isn't a huge jolt to her world. But since I have been home with her everyday for a little over a month, I thought it might. I was wrong! I teared up (I have no idea why!) as we were walking down the hall to her classroom last week when we met her teacher. I assumed since I was teary then, that I would be teary today. Nope! Not a tear. Hmmm....what is wrong with me? But I was sad yesterday thinking about it.
Keller's school district still does half day Kindergarten. I know, who still does half day kindergarten? I remember having it just for half a day, but that was like back in the olden days, circa 1980. Times have changed in 28 years! Keller's reason is because they are growing so much and don't have enough classrooms yet. Um, theses same Kindergartners will be moving to First grade next year. Will they have room for them? 3 hours she is in school a day. 3 measly hours! What can they squeeze in 3 hours? As you can tell, I am not too thrilled about this half day business.
Here is the start of the yearly tradition where you take a picture in front of some place outside your house that you showed off either your new backpack or new lunchbox. I have some I would like to burn. Those dorky years, mainly. Yes folks, even beautiful me had dorky years. Ha! Man, I crack myself up! Anyways, as you can see from this picture, Sammi is not holding a backpack OR a lunchbox. Because half day Kindergarten does not have lunch! And what could she possibly need to tote back and forth to school for just 3 hours a day? Jason asked me this weekend if I got her one. I said no and explained why. He seemed confused and said "every kid needs a new backpack on their first day of school". I told him, ok, we will play the first day by ear. If we then think she will need one, then I will get her one. Well, when we got there this morning, there was a whole wall of hooks with backpacks. Jason gave me that look that said "I told you so" because he didn't understand why I didn't buy one in the first place. Argh.

Joshua just could not stand it just being Sammi in the pictures, so I obliged and let him be in one.

Sammi in her new classroom. Notice the interesting smile on her face? She has just started this odd smile where she sticks her chin out and strains her neck muscles while she smiles. Why? Jason kept saying "Sammi, give a normal smile", and this is what I got for "normal". Poor thing looks tired. 6:45 came early this morning! For me too!

Excited mommy. It took an act of Congress to get Jason to take a picture for me. I don't remember seeing many other parents take pictures, but who cares? Jason is not one to be the odd man out or stick out, so he didn't want to do it. I widened my eyes, talked through my teeth, and said "please just do it" He did. He's a good man and I love him for it. :)

I snuck this picture of Jason giving his talk to Sammi before we left. I knew he wouldn't pose for a picture. Why would he want to be the only dad in there doing that? :) So this is what I got.
After I dropped her off, I had just two short errands to run, and then poof! It was already time to pick her up. And what did she tell me when I picked her up? "My teacher told me to tell you that I need a backpack". Really. I'm not kidding. So, off to Target we went and Sammi is now the proud owner of a My Little Pony backpack.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fun With the Kids

Since this is the last official week for both kids to be home, I had a lot of things to mark off my "to do" list of things I wanted to do with them before either I started a new job or Sammi started Kindergarten. So, last night we went to Incredible Pizza after Meet the Teacher for Sammi's new class. We loved this place! It is like a big kid's Chuck E Cheese, just without the scary rat. :)
Here are two of my most favorite people. Jason was in the middle of chewing, hence the strange grin on his face.
My curly-headed boy saying "cheeeeeeeese!" He ate nothing but goldfish. Really, what is wrong with this kid not liking pizza?

Jason playing a Nascar race. Of course he was Dale Jr's car.

And, he came in first! I don't think I have ever seen anyone win first place in these video car races. I myself, chose not to even attempt them. I am the one driving off the road, running over pedestrians, knocking down trees, etc. I spared myself the embarrassment with Mr. First Place being there. :)

Jason & Sammi riding the motorcycles. I pretty much drug Jason to this place, then he wants to play all of the games. Go figure.

Joshua playing a game....it's nice when kids are too young to know that what was on the screen was just the preview of how the game is. He was cheap since we didn't have to put money in these for him!

There was a toddler area with a few small rides. Of course Sammi couldn't just sit back and watch, so she got on the merry-go-round too.

Joshua freaked out when he saw this "race car". He loves race cars, so every type of a car is called a race car by him.

Today I took them to ride the Trinity Rail Express to downtown Dallas. A friend of mine told me how fun it was for her daughter, and Joshua loves trains, so I thought I'd give it a try. It was so fun!

Here they are waiting for the train to come.

Joshua watching the landscape go by....he sat like this for the first half of the ride. I love this picture.

Joshua saying "choo choo!"
Self portrait by mommy...the only way I can get in pictures without bugging strangers to take the picture for me. I am horrible at that.

Another of my favorite pictures.
Awe, isn't he sweet? I should frame this as a reminder that my two year old boy IS a nice boy to his sister at times. :)
I have lived in and around Dallas since I was born. So why did it have to take a trip with my kids and just walking around downtown Dallas for me to finally see the JFK landmarks around Dallas from the day he was shot? I have always wanted to take that tour, so I kind of got one. Just no one walking with us and giving facts and cool information. This picture is of the book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly shot JFK from the 6th floor. I say supposedly because with all of the conspiracy theories out there, I have no idea what is true and what is not. Ever see Oliver Stone's JFK? Makes you think....

A pic of "the grassy knoll" Is that how you spell "knoll"?

Here is JFK's memorial in Dallas. Really neat architecture.

This was the home of John Neely Bryan, who founded Dallas. I can't imagine living in something so small!
This is a statue of him...with Sammi & Joshua. I think Joshua was on his way to falling asleep here.

.....and here he is fast asleep.

Still sleeping, even after we boarded the train to go back home. Sammi said it well, "he is so cute when he is sleeping". I agree!

Sammi being a pirate in the car on the way home. Argh!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

Whew, what a long weekend! I wish I had pictures for all of it, but I will do my best with what I have.
Started off last Wednesday with my sister Meredith and her brood coming to our house for an overnight visit. The kids played, played, and played some more. After 5 kids in the house, I was exhausted that night! Samantha LOVES her cousins Nic (7), Will & Kate (both 6). Thursday we headed to my dad's for a day of swimming. Swimming with 5 kids is not in the least bit relaxing! My form of relaxing swimming is by floating on my back until I just can't take it anymore. I love doing that! So relaxing to me. But with Joshua, there isn't much relaxing to be had. But he would rather just hang in the hot tub. At the end of the day, I was exhausted! Too much sun and swimming, I guess. But it was worth it!
Friday I went to my cousin Kristin's house in McKinney. I am trying real hard to see all of my stay-at-home friends before I go back to work, and she was #2 on my list (sorry Kristin, Meredith was #1. I know you understand!). Her boys, Drew (7) and Tate (5) played great with Sammi and Joshua. We got to catch up in between referreeing someone, getting food or drinks, etc. We had to dash off to beat traffic and get me home in time to get ready for a night out. That night Jason and I went to a surprise birthday dinner, which was 1 1/2 months after her birthday! Many reasons why it was late, but it gave Jason and I an excuse to go out together. An added bonus: it was at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants.
Here is a pic of Amy and I. She is a dear, dear friend of mine (see previous post Amy & Jacob's Wedding) that I don't get to see as much since our lives are so busy. I love you Amy!

Jason gettin' some love from Lisa and Amy. He looks pretty happy, doesn't he? :)

Saturday, several members of Jason's family were in town. I already had plans to scrapbook all day at my friend Leisha's house, but I took a break to see everyone while they went swimming at Marcia's house. Selfishly, it was nice that I already had plans...Jason was in charge of everything to get the kids ready, take them to lunch with the family, take them swimming, etc. It was great! One of my mole's in the family told me that he looked "hurried", was late, and even commented "it's tough being a single dad!" Ha ha, that just makes me smile! Yes, I do love my husband. But all you moms out there know how clueless and helpless they can be and act when they are alone with the kids! They need a reminder from time to time about what us moms go through, right?

Now this is a crowed hot tub! It was a very popular spot that day that was free of kids jumping near or on you or getting lots of splashes. Those lucky members in the tub are: Joshua, Colby, Todd, Addison, Aunt Rhesa, Uncle Larry, and I think that is Aiden's head.

Sammi and her cousin Carter. They are two peas in a pod and she asked me daily when she found out they were coming to TX from VA, about how many more days until she could see Carter. I couldn't wait for them to get here either, but now I don't have to answer that question everyday!

Here is Joshua....love the goggles!

Colby flying in the air after Uncle Rudy tossed him. He is really good at throwing kids. Ok, that sounded horrible! You know what I mean. Colby was tossed in the air so many times that I was expecting him to throw up. I would have!

Flash forward to Monday. I took Sammi and Joshua to the children's museum at the Science Place in Dallas with Julie, Rudy, and their kids. It was awesome! If you have not taken your kids there, I highly recommend it! Jason and I then went to see Nine Inch Nails in concert that night. They are by far in my top 5 of bands. I was so excited to see them! I think this was my fourth or fifth time to see them. We went with our friends Dustin and Tim. It was such a great show...words can't describe the sets they had.

Ah, the beautiful Trent Reznor singing below. That man is HOT!

This week we are looking forward to some fun events with the kids before Sammi starts Kindergarten on Monday. We find out on Thursday who her teacher is and if she will be in AM or PM class. I know, half day kindergarten. Yuck! She was excited to get to eat in a cafeteria. I had to crush her precious heart and tell her that she won't get to until the 1st grade. You would have thought that I broke it to her about Santa not being real! She was that upset. So this week, we are having her back to going to bed early. Since I have been home, bedtime for her has been 9 or 10! She sleeps in now, so it didn't seem so bad to have her go to bed late. Plus, that gave me one on one time with her after Joshua went to bed. She got at least 1 hour of peace without him harrassing her. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

1 Year Ago Today

It's hard to believe that 1 year ago today Joshua underwent open heart surgery to build a wall to separate the top two chambers of his heart. Thinking back to the hardest day of my life brings back so many emotions that I have not felt or thought of in so long. I wish so much that I was blogging back then...I could have gotten a lot off of my chest instead of holding in all in to stay strong.


Below are pictures of that day that start with a quick (no sound) video of Joshua in our room as we are waiting for the anesthesiologist to come in. We waited for over 3 hours! It felt like 3 days. You try keeping an 18 month old happy and content for that long, that does not involve snacks or sippy cups. Good luck! As we were waiting, he tripped on his gown (they gave him the smallest, and it was still too big) and hit his forehead on the leg of the chair. When the anesthesiologist came in, he quickly noticed it and quizzed us about it. They almost cancelled the surgery for the day!

You would think a children's hospital would have smaller gowns! At least shorter ones would have been nice. We were able to hold him as we walked him to the doors where they take him to the operating room. I would not let go of him! The nurse was so nice and patient. I wanted to badly to trade places with him. Let them open ME up and work on MY heart. Not his. Call me a control freak, but I did not want to let go of that kind of control of my child. It just didn't seem fair. But I kept telling myself that he will be in God's hands and to be thankful that heart defect could be repaired.

Part of our amazing family in the waiting room....we took it over! There was a large one for friends and family, and then this one for the parents where they called us every hour with an update. I am the kind of person that needs people around me when I am worried or upset, so I told Jason to bring them all in the room with us! It still humbles me beyond words that all of our family came. Even Jason's uncle in Virginia flew in to be there. Julie and Noel, who was only a few months old was there, grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, best friends, etc. Meredith came up from Georgetown to help with Samantha. That was a huge help!

The other half of the waiting room. One of my closest friends, Amy, is sitting between my mom and step dad. She knows me so well and knew when to take me out of the room to go take a walk and cry on her shoulder. I learned that day how Jason and I are so different in how we handle the stress and worries of our children. He wanted to be alone, I wanted to be with people. So I would tell him to go walk around to get out and be alone. The windows behind Meredith are where they wheeled Joshua from the operating room to the PICU. We were able to see him for a quick few minutes. Jason and I bawled like a baby just looking at him in awe and me kissing his neck over and over. They had to pull me away so that they could continue taking him to his recovery room. He tried to speak and it was really hoarse from the breathing tube. Thankfully, they took it out before I could see it. That would be hard to see. But I was just so glad to see his bright blue eyes looking at me. Such a relief! Thank you God!

Here is Joshua in the PICU. I covered up with his blanket the draining tube. I was warned about that, but until you see it yourself, you can't prepare for it. It is gross! Several friends and family that came in and out of that room looked pretty woozy after seeing it. I tried to make sure the blanket covered it so no one passed out on us! The first time we went in there, the nurse explained all of the tubes, IV, and wires. I myself got light headed and needed to sit down. It was way too much for me! The only part of his body that I could touch that didn't have anything coming out of it was his head and shoulders. So I stroked those two areas as much as possible. You can see the bruise on his forehead from the fall the day before on the chair.

Here I am, stroking his head. That's all I could do and I wanted nothing more than to touch him. I slept on a small ledge with cushions behind him. The first night the nurse came in to check on him and he had rolled over in his sleep in and was at the very end of his bed, almost falling off where all of the machines are. Ah! He let out a lot of moans and groans throughout the night and day, which is normal. That was the hardest part for Jason. He wanted his precious son to feel no pain. Me neither! But This part I could handle, the hard part for me was over, which was letting go of him. As you can see from the smile on my face, I was so happy! We did not have Sammi come up to the hospital to see him. We were afraid that seeing him like that would frighten her.

Daddy and his beautiful boy. This was the first time we could hold him. I could tell Jason was aching to hold him, so I let him do the honors. He was still hooked up to heart monitors, but that was ok, we could hold him!

Here he is in the wagon, getting ready to head out of the PICU and go his regular room. The heart monitor was still hooked up, but it went wireless while we were en route. We found out that there is a room with technicians where all they do are watch the heart monitors. If one patch came loose or was not fully getting a good read, they would alert the nurse to fix it. Can you imagine that being your job?

All packed in the wagon, ready to go!
Daddy "driving" Joshua to his new room.

First time to hold him in his new room. I was so scared to move him, I did not want to hurt his chest.

First time to eat. It took him so long before he finally had an appetite. I think he finally gave in to his favorite goldfish crackers. I was so relieved when he ate!

This was taken when the nurse took out all of the IV's and wires the day we left. She also gave him his first bath, sitting up, just like this. He was poked and prodded everywhere that the last time they took his blood, they had to poke his heal. His veins were just so worn out everywhere else. The multiple dots on his tummy were from the pacing wires. They were woven in and out of his skin in small circles (it was weird to see) to be there in case his heart stopped....then they would have used those wires to, as they told me, jump start his heart. Thankfully, that never had to happen. But I just about threw up watching them take it out.

This was taken a few weeks after we came home. You can see he was wearing some of Sammi's necklaces when I took this picture. :) For awhile, you could feel the ridge where the breast bone connected as it healed. Kinda gross to feel at first, but I was so fascinated with the healing process of his scar. Now, you can barely see it, it is flesh colored. I was expecting it to always be red. Amazing!

Wow, this post is longer than I thought it would be when I first started it. Hopefully I did not bore you too much. I have to say, I know more about the heart than I ever thought I would! Thoughout the entire process, Joshua was blessed to have his amazing pediatric cardiologist, surgeon, nurses, and all of the staff at the office and hospital. They were all incredible beyond words and treated Joshua with so much love and attention. I couldn't have asked for more! For my wonderful family and friends, thank you for all of the support, prayers, love, food, and cards that you all gave us. We are all blessed to have you in our lives!