Monday, August 29, 2011

8.29.11 - Previews from a photo session with an almost-2-year-old

This weekend, we got Liam out to some nearby fields and started clicking away.  I was confident we could get some pretty good shots of him ourselves for his "2 year old" pictures {with the help of some Photoshopping, of course}.  Hubby did a great job with his photography skills in catching Liam in some cute poses.  It was a little too late in the day, as we got outside about 7:30, so our plan is to finish up the session another evening this week and hopefully get out his 2 year announcements/invites soon!!

SO, here's a preview of how we did...

For those who follow me on Facebook, you've probably seen a couple of these, so sorry for the duplication =)  But since I know how to do VERY little on Photoshop, these are the only ones I've edited so far.   I found some great FREE action sets via Paint the Moon and The Pioneer Woman blogs.  I mainly loved the "Seventies" look from Pioneer Woman and the "Urban Delight" look from Paint the Moon....Anyways, this was an experiment gone very well I think!  I have a LOT to learn, but things are looking promising that we can at least take some cool pictures ourselves.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8.23.11 - Summer coming to a close...

I drive by our water park most days when I venture out of the house to go, well, anywhere.  It is literally right down the street from us.  I remember how excited I always feel at the first sight of kids in line each year...Opening of a cool, carefree summer.  I also noted today how sort of sad it is to see no lines, no water streaming down rides and crammed parking lot, and no kids out and about today.  Oh summer, how you have come and gone in just a blink...seasons seeming to get shorter each year.  August...I think.  And soon August will be gone and the seasons of holidays will quickly consume every last bit of summer breeze. 

I guess this summer I am a little sadder to see it go.  Last summer, we spent many days in the hospital and then Liam was on the mend for a good bit of it as well.  So this summer was our first carefree, relaxing summer together...And being stay at home, it made it even more special to get to spend that time with him.

Ok, enough with my sappy-ness...I need some advice and opinions....Please!

I am struggling with the decision to maybe try Liam in a mothers-day-out program this fall at the church down the street.  Just once a week would be all we could do right now, but I am wondering if this will more benefit him or just be another place (risk) for him to catch an illness.  I feel like he is at the age where he needs to start learning how to play and interact with children his own age.  I'm also going to look into joining a local playgroup as well.  So, what are all the toddler heart parents doing this fall?  Playgroups, MDO, staying in, daycare?  Love to hear any and all advice and opinions!

As for Liam and his swallowing...I heard back from the feeding program at our local hospital.  They do the Vital-Stim therapy and said it would be beneficial for Liam, but he would need it at least 3-4 times per week (or as often as we could come).  That being said, I am praying right now for our insurance to approve us for what is needed.  She also clarified that Liam's problem is due to overall pharyngeal weakness and that besides the Vital-Stim, there really isn't anything else we can do to help him right now...which I am not used to not having alternative solutions, so I am looking into some second opinions and therapy options.  On the bright side of things, Liam is drinking and eating a little better right now than he has in the past.  He is finishing at least his 16 oz of yogurt milk each day (which is a big YAY for calories!) and another 10-16 oz of juice as well.  I also found a couple high calorie foods Liam loves, that I wanted to share also: Yogurt covered pretzels @ 25 calories per pretzel and Greek yogurt @ up to 310 calories per 8 oz.  Although, it is tricky to find full-fat yogurt! 

I just can't believe summer is coming to a close...And, I can't believe my little boy is turning 2 in 5 very short weeks!!  Let the countdown begin!

Monday, August 15, 2011

8.15.11 - Heart stories and pics

My friend Stef is doing a special blog event today, that lets you link your child's heart story to her post.  This is a great resource, and has been a great resource for me especially, to find other blogs out there about other families and CHD children.  So please head on over to Stef's blog and read about these truly amazing little miracles!

Short post today, we got Liam a "vintage" (pre-owned, ha!) cozy coupe this weekend...I always wanted one of these for my child....and thanks to craigslist, we are now owners of one!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8.10.11 - Keep doin what we do....

Liam had his swallow study this morning.  It wasn't really the news we were hoping for, but at least everything is staying the same for now.  They found he silently aspirates on anything less than honey consistency.  We were really hoping he could at least tolerate a little thinner liquids now than what we have been giving him, but I guess it's more waiting again.  They are referring me to the feeding clinic through the hospital to see if feeding therapy would still be beneficial, even though he does not seem to have any aversions or issues other than swallowing function.  I am hoping we can continue the Vital Stim therapy and that they think it will help. 

I am also looking for some advice...I just really thought Liam would have grown out of the swallowing deficiencies by now, and I'm not sure what we are dealing with as far as long-term....Is anyone's toddler still having swallowing/aspiration issues with paralyzed vocal cords?  Just trying to figure out if we need to dig deeper to find out exactly WHY he can't swallow effectively (and not just default to the vocal cord issue) or even who we would see to figure that out??  Ugh...frustrated.

On the brighter side, his follow-up appointment with the Pedi for his strep went great.  She said he looks great (lungs, nose and ears all clear - Yay!) and she even said she was happy with his growth...even though it's not much!  I just love that she really can put perspective on the whole picture, while some of our other doctors tend to be very weight focused.  So I guess this appointment balanced out the swallow study =). 

And last little bit before I go, and I am not going to post about my shop on here all the time, so don't worry... but, don't forget to visit my Etsy shop tomorrow!  It's my GRAND opening! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

8.7.2011 - Summer Camp and eventfullness!

The last couple weeks have been busy around here, and eventful...mostly good eventful.  Last weekend, Dustin and I went to Dry Gulch Camp with our kids from our church.  We were really humbled and blessed with this opportunity to be able to go with our kids to this amazing camp.  We were there Saturday through Wednesday and boy was it fun and exhausting all at the same time! 
Our group!

At the camp, the kids have their own separate counselors who stay with them 24/7.  Dustin and I could participate with our kids in as many of the activities as we wanted to.  It was just like being a kid at camp again - but with no rules! Ha!  Each day the girls and boys each had about 6-7 different activities that ranged from going banana boating on the lake, swimming, go-karts, horseback riding, etc. 

Dry Gulch streets at night...the camp is in an old western town that was built for filmmaking a long time ago...Very cool!

Hanging out in the golf cart...Thank the Lord the sponsors could rent 115 degree Oklahoma heat, this was the only way to get around town!
They also had two chapel times during the day as well.  Evening chapel was an awesome experience...To see all those kids, in one place, lifting their voices and their hands to heaven in worship just brought me to tears.  What an AWESOME, awesome sight.  We had gone to this camp before Liam was born, but this time it was different.  I found myself wondering for this first time, when will Liam accept Christ?  Will it be at camp like this?  Will he have the passion for Christ that we do?  I desperately want that for be able to experience God like see him worship like that.  I guess it just brought to my mind a new dimension of growing up for him I think I take for granted and haven't thought too much about...It really helped me see that, although Liam is in the beginning stages of understanding certain concepts and growing, we really need to be cultivating his spirit more...talking to him more about his heritage in Christ and love and God. 
Evening chapel praise and worship!

Needless to say, camp made for a very eventful week in itself.  But nothing is more fun than a little action back at home when mom and dad are away, right? So, Liam was staying with my parents.  The first night we arrived at camp, my mom called me during chapel service to tell me they think they needed to take Liam to the ER.  They found a little blood in his diaper after a BM, and my mom said he awoke from his nap extremely cranky, fussy and just uncomfortable.   God was quick to give me peace about the whole situation and called it out as an attack (which usually follow in and around ANY God-filled time for me!).  We agreed that they should get him checked out, so they took him to Medical City ER.  After a few hours of tests and samples, they confirmed he only had a case of strep throat...the blood was actually due to an extreme case of constipation...won't go into more detail there =).  Poor little guy...and my poor parents, after Liam was prescribed an enema, Miralax and antibiotics for the next few days.  I just praised God it was nothing serious.  Crisis averted.  Fitting that this year's camp theme was "Greater is He, who is in me, then he who is in the world!" 1 John 4:4 - Amen!

Whew...the rest of camp was uneventful back home, other than my parents dealing with, well you know, LOTS of poo....Praise God for them...and poo.  Not the first time we have lifted praise for that around here. Anyways, we arrived home Wednesday night exhausted but exhilarated.  Then I started busily preparing and finishing my art designs for my first booth for our Annual Neighborhood Night Out event!  After many hours of painting, cutting and modge podging, I finally had my set of sample pieces ready to go.  Our neighborhood night out typically has around 1500 people attend each year, and is a family fun event, with FREE everything, from bounce houses to pizza to unlimited ice cream.  AND, vendor booths are FREE as well for residents.  So I didn't want to miss the opportunity to preview my designs to my neighbors and get some free advertising!  The responses were very encouraging and I am set to officially have my grand opening of my online Etsy shop this Thursday.  I know I haven't posted a lot on this venture of mine, but stay tuned!  I am also dedicating 10% of each sale (forever) to the Children's Heart Foundation.  A decision that came easy to me, that my art should support funding for CHD research!  So, hopefully, it sells!!   I'll be posting again later this week with a link to my shop and more good stuff....For now,  feel free to visit my art blog if so inclined at  Don't have a lot of designs up just yet, but you can get a sneak peak at a portion of my designs (although incomplete in the pictures) and read about my journey to the creative side!

The week is only beginning!!  Liam has several appointments this week.  Tomorrow we follow-up with the Pulmonologist for his congestion issue and possible reflux, Wednesday we have a pedi follow-up for his strep first thing in the morning, followed by a swallow study late morning...Lots of prayers for this one!!  Although, lately, his swallowing has seemed to be STELLAR, with no evidence of choking, coughing or anything.  I just pray that the swallow study capture anything we need to see...whether good or bad.   I am already getting a little anxious for it =) 

Talk to you all later in the week with updates!!  Goodnight!