Friday, October 31, 2008

Yard Work

Travis enjoys watching the yard people in our neighborhood every Thursday. For those of you who aren't familiar with these services, they are usually pairs or more of men who travel around town in a truck pulling a flat-bed trailer with various pieces of yard equipment: lawnmowers, edgers, blowers, rakes, hedge trimmers, etc. Some of the trailers are more make-shift than others. They are very efficient and are actually fun to watch sometimes. If Travis had his way he would follow them around all day from job to job. There is one particular company that does several yards on our street so they are here for at least an hour every Thursday.

So we were out watching them yesterday, and over the summer Travis has invented his own versions of their equipment. He has the little lawnmower, which he loves to use, but yesterday he noticed that his lawnmower doesn't have a bag on the side, so I had to tie a trashbag on the side and "empty" it a few times into a pretend trashcan. And the men use gas-powered blowers that are packs they wear on their backs, so last week Travis asked for his backpack to wear as his blower and the strap that adjusts around his shoulders is the blower nozzle. And we have to gas it up from time to time when it gets low. And the small rake that we have he uses as an edger, and he had Randy attach a small piece of the plastic string that edgers use so that it's more realistic, but yesterday he said that it needed something on the back like the guys' edgers (the motor). I am stumped on how to recreate that, so if anyone has any ideas, we're open. I am debating getting him one for Christmas, but I love his imagination so much that I hate to squash it.

And this is Justin. It doesn't need any explanation, but I think the caption should be "Look Mom, no feet!"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Genetics Follow Up

I am good at going to all of Justin's appointments. I even went the the first pre-op day of testing all by myself. But I have not been looking forward to this appointment. It's where it all began. The other parents with whom I have spoken remember day or the way that they found out about their child having Down syndrome. And I remember that too, very distinctly, but I remember this day too because it was the day that really wasn't supposed to be anything. We didn't tell any family because we didn't want to worry them for nothing, and in my mind, this was just one of the things that we had to check off our list. This was a nothing. If ever I wanted anyone to laugh at me, this was the day. I wanted the doctor to say that I was just a crazy over protective mother.

We took EVERYTHING with us to the appointment. We had the stroller, the baby carrier, 2 diaper bags, toys for Travis, and snacks for Travis. We hauled so much stuff in with us they probably thought we were moving in! And the side of the hospital that has the genetics clinic overlooks the new hospital they are building and at that time, it was not even a complete hole yet. Travis loved looking at all the equipment; it's his favorite to this day; and I prayed that we would never have any reason to see that building beyond that day as it was being constructed. The geneticist we saw is so wonderful. He is so personable and helpful and willing to listen. After his exam he said that he could see what we saw, and for the first time he actually pointed out the traits that Justin has that are Down's markers, but he also said that these things exist in the general population, so it's not definitive without a genetic test. He said that it could go either way. So we had the tests. There were actually two, one for Down specifically, and one was for some other genetic anomalies that he also considered to be possibilities. So we had to get blood drawn. I sat with Travis as he ate his snack as the nurses debated how much blood they could take from Justin given his weight. And then we were sent off to wait. At that point they said 50/50 he has Down syndrome. When we left there were some fish tanks that blew bubbles from the bottom and plastic fish floated in the bubbles. Travis didn't want to leave, and I said that we would come and see them another time. I wanted to take those words back as soon as I said them. I didn't want to go back EVER! But we were back, 2 weeks later, to hear about our son's diagnosis and to understand at least a little, what it meant for us.

So today, we were back where it all began. The hospital is coming along nicely (our room during Justin's surgery was actually facing the construction site, so Travis was able to watch the trucks whenever he visited) and the fish are still bobbing along, and we are a bit further down the road that God has put us on. We don't understand much more about what this all means, but we are more confident that God will carry us through. We figured out that the appointment today was more for us than for Justin. The doctor said that he felt like he kept dashing our hopes because first he said that he didn't know about the DS and then it was, and then that he didn't hear a heart murmur, and then it was and that it needed surgery. I think today was to end on a high note, and to ensure that we are doing the things that need doing to care for Justin. He just watches out to make sure that we know what's coming and what to consider for his future care. We have our appointment at the DS Clinic on Monday and he said that they kind of overlap purposes, so we don't have to see him anymore, which he is sad about, because Justin is so cute! Yeah, we know!

I know this is a bit random. Thoughts have been floating through my head about this for a while as I recalled that day and I just can't explain my feelings. Maybe they will become clearer as the years pass. Right now it's still raw. I just know that I love my baby and I love the one who sent him to us. I think that's enough for now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the enormity of the responsibility of Justin, and I am afraid that I seem too negative. The doctor today (in her delightfully enthusiastic way) reminded me just to enjoy Justin. She was talking to Justin and she said, "Now your mommy can have fun with you." And we do have fun, don't get me wrong, but the parent in me worries and frets too much, no matter how much I pray it seems. But I wanted to share a wonderful blessing we received from our church family. The 1st through 5th graders during the Sunday worship service wrote cards to Justin. And we have an entire envelope FULL of the sweetest, most innocent cards you can imagine. Here are a few:

  • I am happy you are back at church. I am glad you are feeling better. I had a friend that had that happen to him. His name is Will.
  • It's beter to be better little Justin DeCarlo.
  • Dear Justin, You are one awesome little guy. I am happy your feeling better!
  • Hay Justin, Glad you'r in church today. God is looking down on you.
  • Justin, I hope your doing good and remeber God is with you.
  • Dear Justin, I'm glad you are okay, you must be really happy to be back in church. You've done what I've never had the courage to even think about going through.

I didn't edit the spelling or grammar. I think that adds to the charm. Pretty special family we have, isn't it?

ENT Follow Up

We were back at the ENT this morning. The appointment went very well! Justin is nearly 13 pounds, up from his post-surgery low of less than 10 pounds. And his ENT thinks he is doing wonderfully! I think she is my favorite doctor, because she is so encouraging and so enthusiastic about everything he does. She was able to see his left ear drum, barely, so that is good for checking fluid accumulation and potential ear infections. She did ask if he had been sick, and I was able to say with pride that he hadn't (just wait...) so we have set a return visit to the audiologist in 6 months for another hearing test, "after he gets sick a few times and he gets some fluid on those ears". What?! We aren't going to get sick! Not on my watch! (just wait...) I was very pleased leaving her office this morning.

And then I went to Ladies' Bible Class to get Travis where I had sent him during our appointment. At dinner last night he started saying that his feet hurt, and they looked a bit red, but I couldn't see anything, so I put some cream on and sent him to bed. He woke up in the night saying that his feet hurt and I had to put more cream on them. This morning he said they hurt and I gave him some benadryl because it looked like a rash. I picked him up from class and I had someone else look at his feet, and she said, "Oh, that looks like hand foot and mouth disease." What?! We aren't going to get sick! Not on my watch... So there went all my pride. And it was replaced with fear for Justin. But if he was exposed it's already too late. Now I can only pray that he doesn't get it, because there is nothing I can do beyond keeping them apart. And reading on-line, it says that a person can transmit the virus even after visible symptoms are gone. So, we are back in seclusion, more or less. Travis sucks his thumb, so there is NO WAY I can prevent his saliva from being transmitted to anyone else. It is nearly impossible to stop him from sucking his thumb while he uses the bathroom, much less while he is playing. You know, we missed last Halloween when Travis randomly threw up on our way to the Pumpkin Patch party at our church. And now this? I even had a good costume this year! I will still evaluate, but it looks like we are home bound for a bit longer... And I apologize to anyone else we may have infected, completely unknowingly.

And a deep thought: The doctor's office that we were at this morning is the satellite office for all different specialists, including therapists, so there are no regular pediatricians at this office. It's the place we hope to be able to visit the cardiologist when we are released from TCH so we can avoid the hour drive and $10 in parking. So everyone who is there has some specific issue, with varying degrees of severity. While we were waiting, another little girl with DS came in with both her parents. She was about 18 months to 2 years I would guess. I kept snatching quick glances at her to see what she was doing. We were called back fairly quickly after she arrived. I hope that they weren't put off by my peaks. I am sure they get looks a lot, but my look was for a different reason. I hope that I remember that not all looks are meant to be gawks. I have started thinking recently about the other "firsts" that Justin will experience: the first time a peer teases him for the way he does or can't do something, the first time people gawk at us at the park, the first time he isn't included in a game because no one wants him on their team. I have been pondering this for a while, and I realize that almost every child will have these "firsts", but I think Justin's will continue more frequently. And I think they will bother me more than Justin. I hope they do. But I have been praying that I am prepared for them. That God will give me the words to say, or the blinders to ignore it, or the right actions to protect Justin, and also to let God shine through. Will Justin be hurt? Probably. Will I be hurt? Definitely. But how will we respond? And how will we recover? I hope that is the more crucial piece. I ask God regularly to place in my mind the thoughts that need to be there, for preparation and for planning. I cannot consider Justin's entire life, but I want to focus on the part that is now and just ahead, and let God do the long range planning.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We're Back...

to as much as we can ever expect "normal" to be. We returned to church today. I was SO looking forward to going, even though I know that it's difficult with 2 children. I had to remember all the preparations from the night before that I had forgotten in the 2 1/2 months since we have been. I couldn't believe it when I thought about it! The last time we were at church was Aug. 10. It wasn't exactly as I hoped. I really wanted spend some time soaking up the community worship, singing and praying, but instead I spent the time feeding Justin and trying to get him to sleep by doing laps around the gym. (Walking, not running, but maybe that's a way to kill 2 birds with one stone...) I also spent some much needed girl time with another mom and her baby who also didn't believe it was nap time. When Justin gets tired he talks. Loudly. A lot. But anyway, it was like riding a bike, we didn't forget how, and it felt so good to be back with the "family"! Here is today:

Also to note is Travis is holding his truck and trailer that he earned for staying dry ALL NIGHT LONG (for 10 days). We're very excited about that!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

We went to the pumpkin patch a couple of weeks ago, and we carved the pumpkin tonight. My sister was here for the day too. Travis enjoyed the goo and watching Randy carve it, but he did not want to touch it at all! He is quite the clean and neat freak. It MIGHT have something to do with me... This week he spilled water on his shirt (about 3 tablespoons full!) during lunch and he would not eat until I brought him a clean shirt. Justin didn't care much for the pumpkin. He just sucked his thumb.

We are headed out for pictures later this next week, and I can already tell it will be a repeat of Travis' 6 month pictures. The ONLY picture we could get without his thumb in his mouth was when I pulled it out and the photographer snapped the picture, so his arm is straight out in front of him. It looks a bit odd. It's much easier now that we can tell Travis to take his thumb out, although it's not always effective. Today he was laying on the floor sucking his thumb and trying to reach one of his trucks with the same hand, without taking his thumb out. It looked very odd!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Yes, we're out. Since Tuesday we have been free, and we celebrated by going to Ladies' Bible Class at church. We only stayed for part of the class because Justin had his therapy appointment, but it was a good introduction to the outside world. Travis did not want to leave; he was having so much fun. I am so glad that he enjoys his class, and playing with his friends. So that was our first venture out. It took another 2 days for me to go out again because we had car trouble this week. Randy's car was misbehaving and he needed the other car, so no outings for us. Then Thursday I did I, I Target. Yes, that was my first real venture into the germy world, and so far, we're all good. It was actually kind of funny because I hadn't been shopping with both boys in so long I forgot how. Where do I put 2 boys in a cart? I had never done this before, Justin was always small enough to ride in the sling, and I forgot it because, well, we hadn't needed it in about 2 months. So where do I put him? He is one who likes to fling himself forward at random times. And who is nowhere close to sitting up on his own. They both ended up in the seat of the cart, with the shopping cart cover over every inch of the seat. Both of the boys are HUGE thumb suckers, so everything they touch ends up in their mouths. Justin fell over on Travis a few times, and Travis screamed that Justin was crowding him, but I still think it was okay. We will learn. I am going to Wal-mart tomorrow. I am kind of excited. Really.

Justin moved on to peas tonight. I am going to the grocery store tomorrow to buy some produce to prepare for him, like I did for Travis. Like a friend mentioned, it's the perfect time of year for making baby food, because so much of the good stuff is in season: sweet potatoes, winter sqaush, apples, and pears. Justin liked the peas so much he grabbed the spoon and sucked it clean, along with his thumb.

And last week, Travis started asking to read the paper along with Daddy when he eats breakfast. So I HAD to take a picture. Eating cereal and reading the paper. Daddy has Sports and Travis has the Business section. Do you think he's watching the market to make sure we don't lose his college fund?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First Food

I did it finally. I introduced Justin to food. So it was only oatmeal, but it still was a big step. I have been putting it off because it's easier just to nurse him, and his low muscle tone also leads to potential constipation issues. It was one of things that I did not enjoy with Travis. It took a while before he really liked food, partly I think because he did not like the rice cereal that all the books say you should use to start. I distinctly remember Randy coming home one evening and I told him that feeding Travis was the worst part of my day. We did recover and Travis is a marvelous eater. So I skipped to oatmeal with Justin, and that seems to be a big hit! I mixed it with prune juice, like we did for Travis, partly for the potential constipation, and partly because it's easy. By the end of the "meal" he was actually reaching his head forward to get the spoon in!

One of the issues with Justin is that I cannot just wait for him to learn things, or assume he will catch on, I have to be proactive and teach him the right way to do things, so he is using the correct muscles. This affects the way we teach him to eat. When I spoon food into his mouth, I am tempted to scrape the food off on his upper gums, just to get it in his mouth. Instead, I am supposed to encourage him to close his mouth around it and exercise the lip muscles to pull the food off. I am just trying to keep his hands out of his mouth right now! I am grateful for the HUGE bibs that cover everything that my cousin sent me. He needs as much coverage as possible. I washed 2 of my shirts, a bib, Justin's outfit, and his crib sheet today from all the messes. Ok, one of my shirts was my fault, but the rest was Justin!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Meat Day

I know this blog is supposed to be about the kids, but this is one of the few things about which I get excited. About 2 years ago I was at Sam's Club and I noticed that they sell meat by the case at a cheaper price than just buying a small amount. I asked a friend if she would go in with me to buy a case, but when I told her that a case was 80 pounds of ground beef, she said I would have to find some other people to go in with us. So, I did, and Meat Day was born. We started last March and we bulk purchase meat by the case every 2 months. I send out an e-mail to collect orders and then I buy the cases and divide it up as people request. We usually do 4 cases of boneless skinless chicken breasts, and 2 cases of 90/10 ground beef, but we have had requests for pork, so today was the first day we tried pork. That brought our total for today up to 2 cases of beef (170 pounds), 6 cases of chicken (300 pounds), and 2 cases of pork loin (100 pounds). It was great! (For those of you from out of town, remember we did just have a hurricane, and everyone ether lost meat, or was forced to cook it to save it from going bad!) Here's my car loaded down coming home from Sam's:

The beef usually goes in one pound bags each. It's easier to thaw and we can make it flat and easy to store in the freezer. The chicken we divide up by however many breasts people request. And the pork was new for us, so we did some in larger chunks to bake, and some sliced to grill. I have a spread sheet to keep track of orders. Today it took us 5 hours to divide up all the meat. Then everyone comes to my house in the afternoon to get their meat. I have some amazing helpers, and today Randy was able to help because it was his Friday off.

We have breaks to watch and feed the children. This was a break to watch Caillou.

This is "Cooler Row" in our garage. We assemble all the orders and bag them and then organize them in the coolers so we can find them easier. It has been a learning process. Each time we refine and adapt and alter things to make it work better. We have a system, and it works great!

I have learned a lot in this whole process: I know that my big freezer can hold 175 pounds of ground beef on 2 shelves. Without breaking. Yet. I know that a case of chicken has about 92 breasts, and each one weighs about a half pound (they're BIG!) I can grab a handful of ground beef and it is a pound almost every time. I LOVE doing this because 1. It saves money and I love to save money, and 2. It is a challenge to make the orders all work out within the confines of the case limits. The day after Meat Day I spend cooking my meat and freezing meals for easy dinnertime planning. I love Meat Day and I look forward to it every time. Someone said today when she picked up her meat that it's a good thing we do this, or her family would be vegetarians. Maybe it's not that serious, but it's still fun and everyone benefits!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So, we got the word that our pediatrician's group reached an agreement with our insurance a couple of weeks ago, so we can continue to use her. Great news, and a huge answer to prayer. Then, last night, we were reading through our information for annual enrollment and we nearly passed out when we read that my work is not going to offer BCBS anymore! We are switching to Aetna on January 1. We rushed to our computer (which now had internet, as of Monday at 3 pm!) and searched Aetna for all of our doctors, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them is in network with Aetna, even my midwife who WASN'T with BCBS and we had to file paperwork to use her for Justin's birth. So if we want another baby, we are good to go, for this next year at least! (Yeah, not going to happen, we know how that happens now...) So, after all the prayers and worry, God totally threw us for a loop! Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekly Report

We may have electricity, but we are still without internet and cable TV. The second one doesn’t bother me so much, but no internet is KILLING me! I am not sure how I survived before we had internet, but I don’t think we go an entire day without forgetting that we have no internet and attempting to open internet explorer and then crying out in anguish. Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but still, it has been hard. We feel like we are in an information black out. I am just glad that we get the newspaper or we would have no idea that Houston’s energy industry was facing recession or that we now need to prove that we are here legally to get a driver’s license. And oh, the letters to the editor from yesterday’s paper! I was almost as entertained as when I read my friend’s blogs! So my friends, when I call you, I REALLY have no idea what is happening with you, so please, tell me all!

So, now that I have vented a bit about lacking internet (I DO realize that some people live like this every day…) what is happening with us you may wonder. We have been doing well. We are now beginning our last week of solitude, and I have begun to think about life after isolation. One consequence of this time has been my increased fear of enclosed spaces and crowds. I have never been a real germ-o-phob, but I am now scared of exposing my children to anything. I am nervous about letting Travis play with other children who have not been pre-screened for illness. And I do not want anyone to touch Justin’s hands for fear of contamination. So silly, I know! I really have been praying about God taking this fear away, and also for recognizing once again, that God is on control, that he loves my kids even more than I do, and that he can take care of them even better than I can. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

The other consequence has been getting to know my children even better. I don’t know if anyone else felt this way, but when my kids were born I loved them, but I didn’t KNOW them. I could look at the pictures and say, “This is my new son, Travis.” But the meaning stopped there. Now I can look back at those pictures and say, “This is TRAVIS” and it carries so much more meaning. I am not sure how to describe it, but I smile knowingly when I look at pictures of my kids. I know Travis’ smile, I recognize his feet barefoot, and I can pick out the picture he has drawn. And it all has depth of meaning that just cannot be there at birth. Now I can say all those things about Justin. We have had some great conversations while Travis is sleeping. Justin has Brushfield spots in his eyes, and I now know their pattern. He loves honking my nose, and he has his special way that I hold him that helps him sleep. And I have not had anyone else with whom I can compare him. There are no other 6 month old babies in my home who are able to crawl, who have teeth, and who stand up. There will be times when I won’t be able to avoid this, but I have gotten to appreciate and love Justin for who is, not for who he is not.

I have started working on Justin’s baby book, which had put off doing for a long time, partly because it is a daunting task for me, but also because I didn’t know how to write it. Why do parents create baby books? I had always planned to give Travis’ to him when he gets older, but what about Justin? Will he understand what it is? I want him to know that he is loved just the same as Travis, so I am working diligently to create something that Justin will be able to look at and enjoy, probably for different reasons than Travis, but still equally special.

We took a family outing to the Pumpkin Patch today. It’s weird going places other than church on Sunday, but soon we will be back to “normal”. Travis enjoyed the goats and climbing on the pumpkins, and he watched the hayrides without wanting to ride himself, although I expect this will be the last year for that. And Justin slept, so we didn’t get any pictures with the boys in the pumpkins. Here is what we did get:

And some other tidbits from this week: Travis got his potty prize (a dump truck) for successful poopies in the potty. The next prize is for staying dry all night long. We have 1 sticker on that chart so far. And he wanted Justin to watch him play with his truck so I had to set him on the floor to watch, which he did for a long time. Travis is LOVING all the trucks that are picking up the debris from the storm. He calls them “grab-nabbers” (think Little Einsteins) and we have to look for them whenever we are out. He uses his crane as a grab-nabber and picks up “logs” (blocks) and puts them in his new dump truck. They were working in our neighborhood yesterday and we took several walks to find them. Apparently they are from Florida and they are used in the orange groves. Who knew?

And my sister’s boyfriend came to town. Travis thinks it was to visit him. When he woke up from nap the first thing he asked was, “Where’s Jerry?” And we sing a song that changes the first letter of each word to be the same, and he asks for Jerry’s letter (J) all the time, even though his brother’s name starts with the same letter! Jerry is the preferred playmate for the time being at least.

That’s all I can muster up now, so please pray that internet returns to the DeCarlo home soon and for our last week of introspection (may it not get TOO deep!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One Step Closer

My mom left yesterday, after being in town for the better part of 6 weeks. It was sad to have her leave, but it was necessary for us to get back to our normal. Travis wanted to go with her, and she convinced him to beg me to take him to 'Sconsin to play in the snow this winter. He asked for her a lot during the day, but she made it fine and we are settling back to our family of four. Travis thinks that she is a good cooker (and I am a good driver, for whatever that's worth) and she was invaluable for all that she is and all that she does. She will be back, thanks to my flight privileges, but for now, we are back on our own.

And we resumed therapy yesterday as well. Lucy was impressed with Justin, and she was able to do some work with Justin that doesn't require laying on his stomach. He is moving up to supported sitting, which he can actually almost do. He needs some help with his elbows, but he can do it for a second or two. And Justin is back almost to rolling to his stomach.

Last week when I went in to see Justin during the night, he was playing with his toes for the first time. I know that is silly, but it is so big for 2 reasons: 1. I read in a magazine about the "other" milestones (not crawling or walking) and one that was mentioned was playing with toes, and the time they gave was 5-6 months. Since I give Justin time off from learning for surgery, he is just where he should be with that milestone! 2. This requires a story: When Travis was a few months old, I was in the baby care room at church and another mother brought her baby, who was a few months older than Travis, into the room. She asked me to watch her while she went to the bathroom. She laid on the floor and played with her toes. I though, "Travis is NEVER going to be able to do that!" So silly of course! Travis did learn to find his toes, and a few other things! So that turned toe touches into a milestone for me, and now Justin is there! Who would have thought?!

Justin also has started playing in his exersaucer. We have to wrap a blanket around him to give him some support, and we put a pillow underneath his feet, since they don't actually touch completely. But, he plays, and he likes the toys. That is wonderful, since he is still very attached to me from being held so much during surgery. Here is a picture:

(Oh, and we haven't fixed the door yet...)

And I tried to take the boys' picture on Justin's 6 month birthday, but 15 pictures later, there is not one of Justin looking up. His thumb is way too good. It must be his tasty thumb, as Travis calls it. Travis won't let us cut his finger nails, because it will alter the taste of his "tasty" thumb! This is the best I could get:

Justin will put any finger that get close to his mouth, right IN the mouth, so I have to be careful if my fingers aren't clean. He will hold your finger and suck his, or whatever. He does prefer his right thumb (and Travis his left) so we'll see what that means in the future...

Travis is rocking with the potty training. He woke up DRY this morning! The only problem we have is that he likes to SEE what he does. This is a problem because when a little boy with a litte pee-pee looks DOWN, the pee-pee pops UP, and it most often mid-stream that Travis feels the need to look. So anything, or anyone (ME!) in front of the potty gets hit. I just finished changing my cute capris for sweatpants after I got tagged. We're working on it...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cardiology Appointment

I am sorry for this being 3 days late, but no Internet and my attempts to keep Justin healthy make it difficult to post in a timely fashion.

Justin's appointment went very well. The doctor removed him from the lasix and we are down to only enalapril (bp med.) Yeah! He is back up to 11 pounds after losing more than a pound in the hospital. His bp was great and she said that she could only hear a minor regurgitation ("murmur"). It could be because of the meds. so that could change, but we are encouraged for now. The more minor or undetectable the murmur, the better the fix and the less likely additional surgery would be. Justin is having some sleep problems, which the doctor does attribute to the surgery. She said that some adult patients report some problems like depression, sleep problems, etc. so we will give it some time before we look into other possibilities. There is a small shift in his sternum, but again, not unexpected. His chest is wired together and it is difficult to realign it exactly. She said that she has seen much more dramatic shifts. She did say that we have to keep Justin clear of sickness for another 2 1/2 weeks because we are entering cold and flu season. That will bring us up to the 6 weeks post-surgery about which we were warned in the beginning. We have been cleared for another 6 weeks to return to the cardiologist, and then we will determine if another echo is required. Now we are looking forward to our return to genetics (10/30) the DS clinic (11/3) an catching up with our pediatrician (he is WAY behind in well-baby check-ups because of the delay with surgery). The brief reprieve in doctor visits has ended!

Other than that, we are good. Our freezer returned home last night so that makes the last thing to get our home back to normal. I apologize to those who were looking forward to pictures of the freezer move, but it was after dark and I (the photographer) was on child/baby duty. But the operation was flawless and the freezer is none the worse for wear after its displacement. Now I can assess the loss and plan for another MEAT DAY! (Coming soon!!!)