Saturday, July 30, 2011

7.30.11 - Happy 22 Months!!

Today my little boy is 22 months...and 2 months away from turning 2 years old!!  No more using months to tell people how old he is...He will officially be in the toddler classification.  I am a little sad at how these last 22 months have flown by, but I have been amazed, blessed, overjoyed and filled with utter delight to have watched Liam grow up into the amazing little person he has become!

Dear little Liam,

You are not so little anymore!  Today I was telling daddy you really aren't our baby anymore.  And as I changed your diaper today, I remembered how small you used to be on that changing pad, and now your legs hang off.  You have gotten so tall in the past few months, and your little face is looking more and more grown up each day.  You have your daddy's features - handsome jawline, piercing blue eyes and a soft, sweet smile that lights up the room.  And that hair of yours?  Yes, the white blond hair that people ask which one of us is blond in the's so perfect on you, and it's getting close to time for another haircut soon!

 At 22 months, you officially have ALL your teeth (as far as I can tell!).  You actually like to have your teeth brushed by mommy...after I finally pin you down and get the brush in there, you start giggling and laughing.

You finally have stuffed animal friends that you like to take places, although if they stay behind that's ok with you too.  Kitty and Ducky are becoming great friends sleeping in the crib with you every night and going places with us like doctor appointments and to Mimi and Baba's.  Every morning you name them and give them great big hugs. Even at this age, I can tell you have a very big heart.

Your favorite new line mommy taught you is "Wuv you bunches!" The first time I said this to you, you giggled and giggled and it stuck.  You are so smart, repeating every word you hear...You even said mommy's name tonight after daddy was calling me into your room.  You talk quite a bit, but also have plenty of quiet times during the day.  You are definitely a thinker, which is a blessing to us that you think things through before you delve into them (most of the time!).  You are a wonderful listener and follow simple instructions beautifully.  Yesterday was the first time you verbalized understanding of what I was explaining to you by saying "OK".  I am amazed each day at how smart you are.

You have even started to make jokes and laugh at them.  You are so funny, you even use your expressions to emphasize something you think is funny.   You are a HAM and know when you are being cute and silly...and you eat up the attention!! 

You can now run and are trying to learn how to jump.  You can "hop" on your bottom, which you do when you want to jump.  You mimick everything daddy and I do and are so observant.  In fact, you love to carry your step stool around to wherever we are so you can watch what we are doing, whether it's cooking, on the computer, painting or brushing our teeth! 

Liam, you are the apple of our eyes and the joy of our days.  We love you SO much!!  Happy 22 months!

Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, July 24, 2011

7.24.11 - Sunday sillies...

When you are on a tight budget, you start thinking outside, or OF the box...especially when it comes to saving money.  Free weekend entertainment is hard to come by around here and since the weather forecast has been the same 103 degrees high for the past...can't remember when, we just get a little bored playing with the same ole toys around the house.  So this was our solution....for today at least =)

Big box....going to equal big fun!  Or I was hoping to stop the whining boredom.

Yay! Got a roof and a door!!

This was the point where he was starting to find the scraps more entertaining...
Peekaboo...I see you!

Daddy getting more creative and adding some windows....Liam liking the new view from the side

Liam snuggling up inside...Love the awning on the outside...looks so homey, doesn't it?
Loved the windows...more for looking in than out...

Guess who got inside to look out for this pic?  I just had to join in on the fun!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

7.22.11 - Pick a Cause - ANY Cause!!

Alright folks, we have a LOT going on as far as fundraising goes for various charities who support CHD Research and Support for families of children with CHD's.  So, go ahead - pick your cause and help support one of ours!!

Whole Hearts Foundation - Pepsi $50,000 Grant Challenge - Deadline July 31
Various charities are battling it out to win Pepsi's $50,000 grant to fund the charity with the most votes!  The Whole Hearts Foundation was created by Matt Hammitt, lead singer of the Christian band Sanctus Real, and his wife Sarah Hammitt, to provide a charity whose mission is to support families of children with Congenital Heart Defects.  Their son, Bowen, was born with HLHS in 2010.  They need this grant to get the Whole Hearts Foundation up and running and with your votes, it is definitely possible!!  You can either text your vote (text 107706 to Pepsi phone number 73774) or click on the link I set up to the right and it will take you to the online voting page.  You can vote once a day, and right now, Whole Hearts is in the #26, so we need your votes!!  I found the text voting is really easy, and if we could get all of our friends and family (and blogland) to participate, we could really make a difference!

Books for Charley - Accepting Books or Monetary Donations for Books through August 31
As a heart momma, this story touched my heart and I wanted to share this amazing story with you.  Books for Charley was started as a way to honor the life of a heart hero, Charley, who earned her angel wings suddenly not too long ago.  Donations of books that will be donated to the Children's Hospital in Omaha, NE are being collected through various online outlets, such as my blog friend Jenny's page or you can visit the Books for Charley facebook page.  You can also visit Charley's blog to read more about her story.

Hems for Hearts Charity Fashion Show and Auction - Saturday, September 10
This local event will help raise funds for our Amazing Little Hearts Support Group.  Liam will be modeling in the MadisonLily fashion show, plus a few of my art pieces as well as my mom's art pieces will be up for the silent auction.  They will have games, activities, food and fun for the whole family, so if you're local, please come check it out!  I have a link to the right on this page you can click and it will take you to the Hems for Hearts homepage, where you can purchase tickets and get details.  We are excited about this opportunity to help our local group who provides wonderful events, resources and support to families of CHD children within our own hospital.

TEAM LIAM 2011 - Sunday, December 4
The 2nd Annual Team Liam will again participate in the Dallas White Rock Marathon on Sunday, December 4!  The Children's Heart Foundation will be our beneficiary of all monies raised and our goal is to reach $10,000!  Last year we came SO close at $9,330, so this year I want to exceed that! I've had many friends and family mention they would love to run this year, so now is the time to get training and register for the race!  I created a separate page on this blog where you can find links to everything you need to do to commit and help raise funds for the Children's Heart Foundation, or to simply just help support our team.  We will also be selling Team Liam t-shirts AND running jerseys this year, for those who are unable to participate in our race, but would like to wear our cause on their backs so to speak!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7.19.11 - A birthday weekend, a trip to Urgent Care and a new addition....

This weekend, we had our 3 nieces and Dustin's younger sister over for our annual birthday weekend!  Since most of the kids birthdays fall between summer and the first part of fall, we like to host a birthday weekend during summer and take them to the water park.  We had a great weekend of crafts, silliness, games, movies, food and fun!  They were here from Friday to Sunday night, so I am exhausted (especially since we had some "incidents" occur **see below), but a good exhausted.  We played til we dropped!!

Friday was an indoor craft day, and we created Duct Tape Bags.  This was an easy, no-sew method to make a cute tote bag, and you can find instructions on (a GREAT site, with instructions on how to create ANYTHING you can possibly imagine!)  Here's a few photos of what the girls came up with:
Designing girls!

Work in process...

The finished product!!  SO cute!
Crafting made us hungry!!  Helping make mini-pizzas - Yum!

Saturday we spent the morning decorating the covers of journals with cute paper and magazine cutouts.  I used to do this a lot back in my high school days and thought it'd be fun to have the girls do their own...since school starting is right around the corner!

Decorating their journals

Saturday afternoon we headed to our community pool for an hour or so to take a dip in this Texas hotness.  Boy, with no rain for I don't know how long and over 100 degree weather for as long as I can remember, water activities are the only outdoor outings we take right now!  Of course, we did have a small "incident" happen.  Liam went under water the first time...on accident.  I was standing right next to him in the 1 ft kiddie pool area, and I think I was watching the girls play on the other side of the pool for a second.  The mom sitting across from me caught my eye and she was looking down at Liam.  I immediately looked down to see Liam UNDER water with arms flailing...I scooped him up and he looked surprised and gave a few good coughs and then was fine.  Talk about a split second, although it all felt slow motion....Luckily I was right next to him, but he is out of my peripheral vision when I am looking straight ahead.  Talk about the I have a hand on him at all times!!

And since we are on the topic of "incidents", Liam also decided to pull his GTube out of his tummy on Friday night....Yes, this has NEVER happened before.  I FREAKED out.  Especially since we didn't know exactly how long it had been out OR where the darn thing was in the house....AY yi YI!  He was in the kitchen while I was making dinner, and I looked down and saw a stain on his shirt, resembling the stains he used to get around his tube when he was tube fed...I was thinking, thats odd, we haven't given him anything through his tube today...Hmmm, and his shirt is laying really flat right there....I ran over to him and pulled his shirt up and sure enough, no tube, just a hole with NOTHING leaking out.  On the inside, I was panicked, but trying to remain as calm as possible with all the girls over.  I ran to get the extra tube set we have while Dustin took him to his changing table.  After a few attempts to try to insert it, it wasn't going in easily....Dustin and I debated if we should just keep it out (meanwhile, Liam is screaming and crying...) but quickly decided to try to get it back in.  The stain wasn't quite dry on his shirt yet, which told me it may not have been out too long.  But those holes I've heard close up SO quickly.  Finally, with slight pressure, the tube popped back in.  I hate that I even had to apply some pressure....I was worried I punctured something....But, Liam seemed fine, had stopped crying, and the tube seemed to fit like it always did.  Dustin found his old tube shortly after on the floor in the living room, balloon still inflated.  We swapped them out real quick and Liam was good to go.  He was quickly back up and running around again as if nothing happened. 

And if that wasn't enough to panic me for the rest of the weekend, Liam developed a pretty bad cough Sunday.  Sunday morning he was coughing a little more than normal, but given he's been on treatments, and acting fine, no fever, etc. I was just hoping maybe he's getting up more stuff now from his lungs.  Sunday, we all went to the water park.  We stayed about an hour or so in the morning, came home for lunch, and then the girls and Dustin went back to the park while Liam and I stayed behind for Liam's nap.  We met them back up at the park for another hour after nap time, and then came home.    I noticed when we went back to the park, after Liam had his snack, he was constantly coughing.  Not choking or unable to catch his breath or anything, but just coughing a lot to where we all noticed.  My first worry is that he aspirated some water between Saturday's incident and today at the water park or even that his tube was in wrong somehow.  When we got home, he was coughing a lot.  Halfway through dinner, I made the decision to take him to Urgent Care to get him checked out (sat check and x-ray to rule out fluid build up on his lungs).  Of course, Liam maybe coughed TWICE the whole time we were there....And the doc said his lungs sounded great, very clear, no rattles.  I asked for an x-ray anyways, which came back clear as well....It was worth it for peace of mind.  When we got home, Liam's cough was still there but had subsided considerably from earlier in the day.  That night, however, it reared it's ugly head and he was up coughing every 30 minutes to an hour all night long.....LONG night to say the least.

In the past, when Liam has had his tube changed out, I remembered it was always followed by a couple days of sporadic vomiting...This led me to believe he may be refluxing and that the tube change out might have irritated his tummy and caused a flare up.  So yesterday I called our Pedi's office to see if they could phone in a prescription for some Prevacid.  So that's what we are trying now.  Monday, his cough was still pretty bad during the day.  He slept slightly better last night, I think he only woke up 4 or 5 times, as opposed to 10-12 times the night before.  I'm gonna see how tonight goes, and if he is still waking up coughing, I'm taking him back in.  Hopefully, prayerfully, the Prevacid will work and that is what is causing his constant cough.

So our weekend was very EVENTFUL to say the least, AND, we have another sweet adorable baby girl who joined our family this weekend as well!  Dustin's sister Crystal and her husband Andrew welcomed their first child this past Saturday, miss Ella Jean!  We are so excited for them and our family!!  What a blessing!

Welcome sweet Ella Jean!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7.13.11 - Good 'Ole Nebby

I took Liam to the pulmonologist Monday, since his 4 week cough was seeming to be getting a bit worse...or rather much more rattly and wet sounding...Dustin and I both had a cough for weeks earlier this summer, so we thought he was just trying to rid the same thing we had.  Liam never had a fever, never cyanotic, not lethargic, etc. so I played the wait it out game.  But, just to be on the safe side, and to find out exactly what nebulizer treatments to start him on to get rid of it, I took him in.

His sats were low, lower than I had anticipated with his coloring looking normal to me...They were 93.  His normal sats are usually "normal" now, at 98-99, so this was a little shocking to me that I didn't notice a color change.  We are now on 4 a day neb treatments for the next two weeks, then two treatments for the 4 weeks after and then probably down to one a day indefinitely =(.  I had a feeling that was coming.  The doc suggested this could be possible aspiration symptoms, as Liam did not appear to have symptoms of a cold or other cough-producing illness.  I also had a feeling that suggestion was coming...Given his "growth chart", doc pointed out his lack of growth and suggested he may be aspirating and possibly have reflux...Yay.  SO, in two weeks, we will schedule yet another swallow study and see what it says.  I had planned on scheduling one anyways, after meeting with the ST this past Friday. 

So back on good ole nebby we be.  At least he is more interested in TV shows at this point, that is the ONLY thing that will keep him from wrestling, scratching, clawing, prying his way out of my arms for treatments.  And I noticed tonight, he is starting to learn what the word B-R-I-B-E even worked with the word C-O-O-K-I-E, which he has never until now really liked much.  I have a feeling that might not be the last time either.  Ugh.

Monday, July 11, 2011

7.11.11 - Abilities and Acitvities

As of last Friday, Liam is currently noted as being up to speed on all his developmental stages!!  YAY!  We had ECI come back out with the Speech Therapist to re-evaluate him on his development and feeding and he was not behind in ANY areas!  In fact, he even scored at 30 months for social/emotional (who knew?!) and 24 months for cognitive skills...GO LIAM!!  The other areas were scored as follows: (this is more for keeping track of this via blog-baby book for me!)
Adaptive - 21 months
Motor - 21 months
Communication - 21 months
I was very pleased to say the least, of this news.  Therefore, we currently do not need ANY therapy services, other than the swallowing issue.  This was great news for us and I am SO proud of Liam...he just proves to amaze us each day!

The Speech Therapist did recommend we take Liam for another swallow study and eval at the Baylor Clinic for his swallowing.  Liam still cannot seem to tolerate thin liquids, and we need to figure out what's going on.  Baylor does the Vital-Stim therapy that he had earlier this year, and I am thinking we may need to continue this therapy.  He has also had a lingering wet cough for about 4 weeks now, that may just be allergies, but also could be aspiration...We are going to the Pulmonologist today to see what they think.

Our nutritionist also came out Friday for a weigh-in.  Liam has not gained anything in the past 4 months, but she didn't seem overly concerned, given the fact that during that time, he started walking (and running now!) and has been weaned off tube feedings.  She said this transition period should be coming to an end, so she really wants to see Liam gain something soon...And so do we!  She gave me a handout with tips on upping calories, which we already do a lot of...So I am just praying God takes over and multiplies the calories that he does eat and gets him to grow!! 

Lastly, Liam has been enjoying some of the activities we've been doing each day!  We are currently working on basic colors, shapes, numbers 1-5 and animals and noises....He is having a blast!  The first game we did was using printouts of animal pictures.  Then I give him basic instructions, like "Go stand on the bear"...It's amazing how simple this was, but how much he loved it! 

We did the same game, but with colored pieces of paper...super easy, but very effective!

I think I was wearing him out!!  Sleepy boy!
We were also told by the Speech Therapist that cup training would be good for Liam right now.  Still using thickened liquids, but start teaching him how to drink from an open cup...Things went just as I presumed they would on his first go...more on him than IN him, but he did great given it was his first effort!  Not to mention he LOVED drinking from his cup!

Well have to keep him in the kitchen for this training!!  Whew, it got REALLY messy!! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

7.9.11 - Holiday fun

Bit late for a 4th post, but better late than never!  We had a wonderful 4th weekend, full of friends, family and fun.  We headed to my old hometown for a mini-reunion with family friends over the weekend and it was such a great time.  Liam had a lot of little ones to play with, and although it was VERY hot, we did even manage to take him for his first swim in the lake!

I just LOVE this picture of Liam and his BaBa

We also stayed in a hotel as a family for the first time...which was interesting.  Anytime we have ever gone someplace, we have always stayed at someone's house...where there is another room to go to once we put him to bed...not so much with hotels!  We only stayed one night, but compromised on a bedtime of 9:00 was too funny, because I put him in his pack n play and he immediately stood back up and was chattin and wanting to play since Dustin and I were both still up.  So, then we realized he wouldn't go "night-night" til we early bedtime for us too!!
Liam watching Dora...oh Dora, how you have saved us from many a meltdown while traveling!

Liam and cousins Josh and Ryan hanging out in Mimi and Baba's room the next morning

This was also one of our last weekends with my brother, sis-in-law and nephews.  They are moving out of the weekend was also bittersweet, as they will be greatly missed! 

On Monday, we started the day by eating lunch with the Heart Unit at Medical City.  Every holiday, the support group brings a meal so we can spend time with the families and patients who are there during that time.  It is such a wonderful things they do, and I'm glad we were a part of the 4th festivities.  That afternoon, Dustin's sister, husband and our nieces came over to spend the rest of the day.  We ended the day with snow cones, a workout park and fireworks!  

Liam and cousins Lauren, Grace and Tori

Liam and Grace waiting in the wagon for their snow cones!

We have a workout park outside up on a big hill I thought we could see fireworks from...fireworks, not so much, but we all had fun playing on the equipment to work off those snow cones!

I just can't believe how this year is flying by!!  I am already thinking about birthday invites, party themes and special outings for us to take that month...Can u believe our little man will be two in less than 3 months!  WOW!

Monday, July 4, 2011

7.4.11 - Independence Day

Sunday, July 3, 2011

May Vacay Pics #2

Here is the second round of pictures!!  We visited Old Alexandria and Georgetown...

 We went to eat lunch at a BBQ place called Old Glory!  It was ok...
 But the HIT of lunchtime, or afterwards rather, was definitely the cupcakes!  At famous Georgetown Cupcakes from TLC's show.

 Then took a trip to the National Cathedral...which was just breathtakingly beautiful...and SO grand....Liam just wanted to climb the stairs.

This was our monument and memorial sightseeing day....

 Dustin got some GREAT pictures of the Washington Monument...You'll have to wait til my July 4th post to see the other amazing shots...

 Liam and I on our trek back down...
 The Korean War memorial was really neat...These statue men were all traveling uphill in what was made to look like swamp land, with shiny marbled slabs within thick ferns...
 It also had a reflecting wall that was purposely made so you could see your image among the faces printed on the wall...
 This is one of my favorite pictures...and memorials...My favorite historical figure is Mr. I love this shot of all of us....not to mention Liam is still AND smiling...
 View outside Lincoln memorial towards the reflecting pool...which was under massive construction which kinda was totally drained...booo.
 This was a picture of the sculpture when entering the Vietnam memorial.  All the war memorials were so neat.  They all give great insight and perspective.
 This was another one of my favorite memorials...Roosevelt Memorial..It was a long, pathed outdoor memorial, featuring a lot of waterfalls and unique sculpture scenes from his presidency.  I think I like it because Liam had a lot of room to move and run around. 
 The binky bait...he didn't want to leave the memorial!  He had a great time seeing all the waterfalls and climbing on all the rock benches, we had to coax him to keep moving on!
 These were some bike racks (?) I think...Liam was having a ball running under and through them...

 And last but not least, the Jefferson Memorial....

I loved all the writings they had of Jefferson's inscripted on the walls surrounding his statue...Very cool...And this picture was so neat...I remember having to memorize this speech of his in particular...

The next day, we went to Liam's and my first air show!

 Needless to say, it's one of the safest places I think I've ever been...or it felt safe with these guys around!

 Andrew took some great shots of all the sky action...Liam and I mainly stayed on the "inland" for these, as he wouldn't wear the ear plugs...The Thunderbirds were last (thank God!) and unfortunately were EXTREMELY loud, so we had to get moving quick to the car, as Liam was freaking out every time they did fly-bys...which seemed to be quite often.  So we watched on our way to the car, while I tried to time the fly-bys with cupping my hands over his ears....That only freaked him out more.  It was really fun though, and I would love to go to another show when Liam is older.  He did enjoy some of the quieter planes and was even asking for "more"!

 Dustin and Andrew stayed a little later at the air show, while Crystal and I headed home with Liam.
 And after a wonderful baby shower for Crystal (yes, she was a total champ and sightseed with us everywhere, being 33 weeks pregnant...she's amazing!), we visited the famous Eastern Market on Sunday and ate some famous crepes that were OH SO YUMMY!!

And that night, we ended our week with a great dinner with more family!  Dustin's cousin, Andrew, lives in DC, so we met up with him and his girlfriend for dinner.  It had been awhile since these three cousins last saw eachother!  Great ending to a wonderful week!!

So as you can SEE, we had such a great time!!  Thanks for taking time to see all of our sights!  And don't forget to check back at the blog tomorrow for a special 4th picture post!