Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Week

I apologize for not having pictures but still no camera. It is a process...

So, this is what has been happening with us:

  1. We had some bad weather this week. It was very rainy and wet. It rained Monday night so Travis ended up in bed with us. And as with most toddlers, he is VERY squirmy, so I didn't sleep much. But wouldn't you know it, the cat decided to throw up during one of Travis' calmer moments. So I didn't get up and clean it up. So in the morning, wouldn't you know, I stepped in it. Good morning to me.
  2. Justin hasn't been drinking well out of a cup. We have tried water, juice (several kinds), milk, and breast milk. He will take it out of a cup, but then he either lets it run out of the corners of his mouth, or he spits it out. And I do mean SPIT. This causes several problems, not the least of which is changing outfits several times a day. Or wearing a raincoat.
  3. We have started using kinesio tape for PT. If you watched the Olympics, it's the black tape that the volleyball player was wearing on their shoulders. It's supposed to add support and stability. We did a patch test last week to see if his skin is sensitive to it, and then Penny put it on today. It sticks VERY well. To get it off, you must cover the area with some sort of oil (baby, vegetable, etc.) and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then peel the tape holding the skin. It was a small patch and it took a minute to pull it off. And Justin did not like it. Now we are taped across the back of his legs. (Sorry, no pics...) It is supposed to stay on for 4-5 days and then be off for 2 days before retaping. And we can do 2-3 areas at once. Penny wants to do his back/scapula area to help with crawling too. But we'll see how the legs do first.
  4. Also, our PT office added a speech therapist so we are able to switch from where we are going for Speech and have them both in the same place. SO HAPPY! I just love their office manager and she takes such good care of us. It's like a family, and at the other place, it's like a doctor's office. We go to enough of those anyway, I don't want to go every week if I can avoid it. But it means an 8:30 apt. every week. That's early, even for me!
  5. I got cocky, so I got knocked down today. First, Justin really is in a mommy phase. (I think I mentioned that...) He doesn't particularly like our ECI/Keep Pace therapist (Lucy)and he screams bloody murder if I walk away from him while she's here. The problem is that she is here from 11-12 pm so I really need to have lunch ready for right when she leaves. For some reason, Justin seems to do okay with Penny (our PT). Which is great because Travis ALWAYS has to go to the bathroom during therapy. So I was going to say how great it is that I can take Travis without making him hurry because Justin likes Miss Penny. Well, today that was NOT the case. I heard him screaming as soon as I returned to the office. From down a VERY long hallway. So much for that theory! Second, Justin hasn't SPIT water/liquid out of his mouth for about 3 days and I was so excited because he seemed to be drinking prune juice (watered down) fairly well. That was the best I have done so far. Well, we were talking and drinking and then he spit water farther than he has ever spit it before. All over my white blouse. PRUNE juice with water. White blouse. Early in the day. Not good. I should mention that laundry day is Tuesday if anyone would like to tackle the mess that is MY clothes from feeding Justin.

Just a little something. We will be traveling up to Wisconsin this month, and then my sister's wedding the end of the month. It will be good!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Touch a Truck

Yesterday we went to a Touch a Truck fundraiser at a nearby church. They had so many different kinds of trucks! Travis was in love! He was shaking he was so excited! There are not enough exclamation points possible to express his love of this event!!

They had a firetruck, a mail truck, a Schwan's truck, the Freebird's VW van, a race car, 2 semi tractor trailers, a U-Haul, an ATV (quad), a tractor, a fork lift, a school bus, several totally decked out pick-up trucks from the local Ford dealership, a plumber's truck, and a police car. And they let the kids have complete access! They blew the horns, ran the sirens, climbed all over, and sprayed water from the hoses of the firetruck. I am fairly certain I lost some hearing during the time we were there. It was a fabulous time. The weather was beautiful. Travis would have stayed forever, and Justin seemed to enjoy himself as well. There were just enough people there so as not to have to wait in long lines to climb in the vehicles, but to encourage a little bit of patience.

The first thing the owner of this truck did was to show him the location of the air horn. SO glad he did that...

Can you see the size of this grin?? It was there the entire time we were there!

Can you believe they make air conditioned tractors now? The man from the John Deere store said we could take this home for $29,000. And that's without any attachments. While Travis might love it, I think we'll save the money for college!

There's that smile again!

I wanted to get him more into the scoop, but Justin was wondering what I was doing and didn't really cooperate. Everyone laughed at our picture!

Justin driving the police car. He wasn't quite sure about that...

Travis driving the fire truck. The firemen had the ladder extended and they climbed up it every once and a while for the kids to see. Travis really wanted to climb the ladder.

The boys enjoyed the firetruck the best I think. I had come right from work, so that's why I am wearing my uniform.

And this was another of Travis' favorites...spraying water. And every other kid enjoyed it too! I think we had a lake in the parking lot by the time we were through!

Oh, and we still haven't bought a camera. We borrowed one from our neighbor. I am so glad we did!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Photo Session

We went for Justin's one year picture session today. We also took a family picture and did one of the boys together too. Justin was not in the best of moods, so we had to settle for not crying rather than going for smiling. He is finally cutting some more teeth and he is not liking it. The top 2 are coming in with a vengeance. I think the people at the studio are starting to recognize and avoid us. There were 6 photographers there today, and we got the two who had never taken Justin's picture before. So we started all over saying, "No, he cannot stand up, not even with a chair." I am not sure who has done the best, so I could request them next time. It all depends on Justin. But they really tried HARD I have to say! I think we did okay, and now we won't return for 6 months! Yeah! Maybe by then he will be standing??

Justin was blowing raspberries by this point, so that's the face we got. I am not sure what to think of it, but it looks okay so we let it go!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I finally remembered to take my camera to Justin's physical therapy (PT) appointment last week. I have been meaning to take some pictures for Justin's baby book since you cannot really tell the story of Justin's life without including his therapists. So this is Justin working with Miss Penny:

When I first started taking Travis (I didn't at first, to make certain that Justin knew what to expect and to ensure that I wouldn't need to help a lot.) he really loved going. And he still does, but now it's more about which toy Miss Penny will get for him to play with. At first he called her Henny Penny because of the story in one of his books. He thought that was so funny that someone would be named Penny! Miss Penny has some great toys and Travis thinks she is great. We played with the game Perfection the time I was taking pictures. Do you remember that game? We never had it, but some friends did and I really liked playing it. I remember it was a lot harder to get all the shapes in before the timer popped up the board. Travis just about hit the ceiling the first time it popped up! Then he loved it and wanted it to pop all the time. And THEN he figured out how to cheat and turn it off, fit all the pieces in, and then turn it on again. It was so funny!

The bad part about going to therapy is that you find out all the bad things your children who AREN'T going to therapy are doing. Like our OT said that Travis is not forming his mouth well into a circle (like to blow) and we need to work with him having races blowing cotton balls across a table to reinforce that ability. And Travis also W-sits, according to Miss Penny. It took me a while to figure out what that is, but here's a picture:

It's bad because it can cause hip and knee weakness when a person gets older, which can lead to falls and breaks, or joint replacement. It also doesn't allow for trunk rotation or hand preference or crossing mid-line (center). They even gave me a copy of an article that describes the problem and how to solve it. Of course, the easiest way is to prevent it from becoming a habit (too late- I found a picture of Travis at 9 mo. sitting like this...) and after that just remind them to change how they are sitting. So we remind Travis about 15 times in a 10-minute span, and then we get tired and just tell him that he will have to pay for whatever problems he cause for himself later. (thumb sucking on the other hand, will be our responsibility when he needs braces, ...sigh....) No, really we are trying, so help when you see him doing this. How many more bad habits can we collect? I shouldn't ask!
And one more thing, we had a camera mishap on Sunday, so until we buy a new camera, we won't have any new pictures. Sorry about that! Any recommendations? I want small and easy, with a rechargeable battery.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

It's Easter and it's wet and raining outside, but in here it's a party! We went to early church and then the Easter egg hunt INSIDE of course. The Easter bunny was there and we got a few pictures. It was very crowded, but the kids had so much fun. Even Justin got in the spirit a bit and went after some eggs, although Travis had to help him fill his basket. (He also offered to empty it into his basket later on!) The boys looked adorable in their Easter outfits! It's always a challenge to find something for boys to wear. Thank goodness for plaid! And sweater vests!

The eggs were just on the floor in the hallways in the building so the kids were grabbing them and filling their baskets quickly. Then trying to get pictures was crazy! No one ran into Justin and he actually did very well. Daddy had to help a little.

I've got one, but I really want THAT one over there!

I really like the boys' outfits. Justin likes the Easter grass.

Travis wasn't getting anywhere NEAR the Easter bunny. Justin just wanted to grab his nose.

The rest of the day is naps and dinner with the family. The sun is starting to come out so maybe we'll dry out before the day is over. My grandmother says that Easter is sweeter every year for her as she gets closer to the days she will see Jesus face to face. This year was very sweet for me too. I think as I realize more and more how desperately I need a Savior, I am thankful for Jesus making a way for me and anyone who wants to come to him. It's a very good thing indeed!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Mighty Huntress

Oh yes!! I caught my first possum! I am so excited! We have been catching animals nearly every week, and after the last possum we hadn't set the trap in a few days. We like to wash it off before we try again, so I washed the cage and set it. It took two nights, but last night while I was at work, SUCCESS!! Randy is freeing him at his new home as I type this. I think we'll wait until after Easter to try again, but now that I have done it once, I am ready to try again! Maybe I can take over as the trapper of the family!

So we had another drain back up this week like we did at Travis' birthday party. The plumber said not to use the disposal because it's nothing but trouble. (You should have seen this guy! What a hoot!) Anyway, so I asked if I should compost instead. Because you know, we don't get enough animals coming through our yard, I should start FEEDING them to ensure their continued passage!! He said I should put up a the one we have around our yard......?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Justin's One Year Check-Up

We went to the doctor for Justin's one year appointment yesterday. He is up to 14 pounds, 4 ounces and he is 27 1/2 inches long. So good for him! That means he is at about the 5th% for weight and 25th% for length (on the DS chart). The doctor was pleased with his progress. Travis is at the lower end of charts too, so we don't expect Justin to be a giant by any means!

We discussed what he can do, and she was very enthusiastic about his physical ability. She asked if he could roll over and sit up and I loved being able to say, "YES!" He is communicating in that he knows to respond to his name and who certain people are. She asked if he raises his arms when he wants to be held. He does that well when he is laying down, but not often while seated. Until this morning! I think he must have heard her because this morning he lifted his arms several times while seated in the bumbo seat or on the floor! And he was so proud of himself that he gave himself several rounds of applause.

She also mentioned that if we can get insurance to approve it, she would like for Justin to receive the synegis shots again this next flu season. We will have to see what happens, but please pray that Justin would get what he needs, whatever it is.

We are going for pictures next week, and I will be sure to share when we get them. We are getting the whole shebang: Justin, Justin and Travis, and the entire family. It will be an interesting session I am sure!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Uncle Jerry

My sister's fiance is Jerry. I have wanted to post some of these pictures, and it turns out that Jerry happens to be the theme, so here it goes: Jerry loves the boys so much! Travis enjoys talking with him on the phone, and Justin tolerates him. (The same way he tolerates just about anyone else in his life!) Jerry has been involved in many aspects of Justin's life and growth, maybe not always by choice, but he has played along so well!

He has helped Justin get ready for bed:

Do his hair:

Feed him:

And of course, play with him!

This is one of the best pictures of Justin! He is happy and clapping so I love it! We will miss them when they are gone, but I know they will visit for the boys. And thank God for technology! Distances are so much shorter than they ever were in the past.

Expanding Palate

The speech therapist said that Justin can only have disolvable solids (ie puffs, the veggie sticks he has been eating). She hesitantly agreed to teething biscuits as well. That doesn't leave a whole lot of choices, so I have been trying to come up with some alternatives.

It started a couple of weeks ago when I made Travis some mac and cheese with peas. ( I just have to add something to mac and cheese to give it a bit of redeeming value.) So I thought I would let Justin try it. I put it in my little food processor and gave it a whirl. And Justin did fine and finished faster than Travis! (Okay, that's not really saying a whole lot, Travis has been known to take well over an hour to finish a meal.) But it was a small victory for me. Justin really doesn't chew very well, sometimes he chews and sometimes he just swallows, so I needed to make sure there weren't any pieces that would cause a problem if they went straight down.

When my mom was here, she chopped a strawberry into about 25 pieces and gave it to Justin. They were soft enough that he did very well! And so last night I made stir fry, and given that Justin has had all of the veggies before, plus chicken, I decided I would try giving it to him. This was our version:

And this was Justin's:

He ate every bit of it! I couldn't believe it! Some of the pieces were larger than I wanted, so I just ate them out myself, and Justin gobbled the rest. I am so glad that I enjoy cooking and the challenge of finding things to keep Justin's interest. We are still struggling with constipation issues. He can go to the bathroom, but he screams when he does. My mom bought a papaya and we fixed that for him to eat. That should help some of our problems. Of course, it does help our diaper budget a bit too!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Save the Date

I went to the DS Mom's Coffee this morning and I got the date for this year's Buddy Walk. So this is notice for anyone who might be interested in participating this year. It will be November 14, at the same place at Jones Plaza in downtown Houston. For those of you who went last year, you can tell everyone what a great walk it was! We walked around the Bayou and the view was amazing! We were checking out the DSAH web site yesterday and we noticed that our team picture is featured on the Buddy Walk page! We were setting up for our picture and someone else took our picture and we are on the site now! For those of you in cold weather places, how nice would that be to come here in November for vacation and support Justin's Jaywalkers?!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Separation Anxiety

Boy, have we got it BAD here! I prayed during Justin's surgery that he wouldn't hate me or be affected by me giving him to the anesthesiologist for his surgery. He didn't even remember, or at least he didn't hold it against me, and now he won't let me go. He is upset at least some of the time whenever I leave him with anyone else. Even daddy! It's not the thing that Travis did where he was upset for a couple of minutes and then calmed down and was fine. No, this is full blown hysterics to the point of being unable to breathe! I cannot leave him with my mom, at the church nursery, even to run an errand with family without some sort of crying/hysteria. Sometimes it's worse than others, and I can survive for an hour or two, and other times it doesn't even take 10 minutes before I get the call, "When will you be back??" over muffled cries. He can be doing well and then he hears my voice and the waterworks return. This week has been particularly bad for some reason. Maybe I am just more tired, or maybe Justin is growing some more teeth (always a fave excuse!) but for some reason we cannot be apart for long. A very good friend gave me some much needed encouragement today when she said that mobility goes a long way towards developing that independent spirit that realizes that mommy and I are not one. So, please pray for mobility: crawling, scooting, walking, I am not particular! My shoulders are getting hunched over from carrying anyway. (Seriously, I cannot even leave the room for very long without tears, which means I often carry him around the house in the snugglie carrier to get anything done...)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Shipping Day

In preparation for my sister moving to Seattle, she has spent the past 2 weeks or so packing boxes to be shipped. They are planning to drive, and while she isn't taking a lot of furniture, it is far, so she wanted to send as much as possible on ahead. Her fiance is in town for a few days, so he wanted to take the opportunity to be helpful and do the shipping while he was here. Oh my, was that fun! We shipped everything cargo on the airline, and we (I say we, I just watched) wrapped it all up in plastic and hauled it to the airport last night. She sent 34 pieces on the airline- nearly 1000 pounds! I am not sure where it's all going to fit in Jerry's house, but it's on its way! It was so amusing to watch the happy couple try to do this project together. I laugh, but it SO could have been Randy and me! And since I last shared our animal trappings, we have caught another armadillo and a possum. We took the possum with us to the airport, and I almost considered slipping it into one of the boxes to ensure it would NOT find its way back, but I took pity, and we found him a nice new home somewhere between here and there.

And Justin did his very best to help. He had fun, and no bubbles were popped in the taking of this picture!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Insurance Praise

So it turns out that the therapy office had miscoded the claims and now we are covered! It took three months and several rounds of paperwork, but they have already started paying so that is wonderful! I like that this was an "easy" fix. It was a big relief for me. Now I can just practice my research skills until they are truly needed.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Big Birthday Bash

I know you have been waiting very patiently (some of you more patiently than others!) Here is the story and the pictures from Justin's birthday bash last weekend.

We worked hard all week getting this party planned, and it was SO worth it! Everyone had so much fun. We had a yummy pizza dinner and some wonderful friends created some beautiful veggie trays to balance the grease of the pizza. And of course the cake, but that comes later. Justin was in a great mood and he was passed around so willingly and with no complaints. We set up a room with toys and had some teens come and maintain order while the kids played. They had a blast, and the adults could talk without needing to chase the children around and keep them off the stage. Very important! We learned from the prayer dinner last year! A friend brought a ball pit, a basketball hoop, and a tunnel and Travis loved them all.

I already mentioned about the slide show that Randy created. It was beautiful and it ran while we ate. I think everyone enjoyed it. I, of course, could watch it every day! We still haven't figured out how to load it onto blogger since it is such a large file, but I will keep pestering Randy. After he finishes the taxes...

After dinner we sang a couple of songs and then we had to thank everyone for all they have done for us. That was one of the important things we really wanted to express. Everyone has been amazing helping us and supporting us and it has been so appreciated! And we know that God deserves all the glory for bringing us this far. He has used his body (the church) to do powerful work. Randy gave a beautiful little speech and we prayed again for continued strength and comfort in the MANY years to come. A first birthday is the end of the beginning, and then there is all the stuff in the middle before you get to the end. I want a long middle, unless Jesus decides to return, then I am all for short!

Several people had the sweetest thoughts to share with us. One woman mentioned how grateful she was that we didn't shut everyone out when we learned about Justin. Just letting them know what is happening and sharing our struggles and emotions helped them understand and deal with the situation too. And I thought WE were the ones being helped and supported! I can't imagine it any other way! Someone else mentioned how great it was to watch the love we have for Justin show on our faces. That no matter what, we just love him for being our son. I guess that makes me think about how much God loves us even when we are bad and sinful. We are his children and he loves us no matter what. That's pretty powerful stuff. It's difficult to conceive of loving Justin any more than I do, and yet God loves him even more! And he loves me and Travis and each of us even more than anyone else on earth. That gives me such joy and peace. Being parents really helps clarify how God can love us so much all the time, even (maybe especially!) when we don't deserve it.

We had our family come from Dallas with cousin Lauren, who just turned one in February. We are so glad they could come, even though it was a short trip.

And this is one of my good new friends whose son is almost 26 with DS. She has been such a good friend with the best understanding ear. My church family is so good at listening, and I wouldn't trade that for the world, but Martha is an understanding church friend. She has walked and IS walking in my shoes. Very rare and precious.

And then there was CAKE! The very best part of the party, if you ask the children. The cake didn't even make it to a picture without a finger swipe of the frosting.

I didn't realize until later that I hadn't even given Justin a piece of his own cake, but we had a small family party this week, and he ate an entire piece! A fairly good sized piece! And that was after his dinner. He liked it. But that's another story!

After the crowd had died down, we went outside and took a family picture. This is the best one. I call it "Look at me!! I'm ONE!"

And I almost forgot: After this picture we were going back inside and the person taking the picture has a daughter the same age as Travis and they were holding hands and running back inside and we were saying, "how cute!" when Travis ran head first into the glass table in the foyer. Seriously, like legs up in the air, flat on his back hard. We needed ice and lots of loving to cure that one. He has a lump on his head, and somehow, a bruise on the side of his nose. My advice: when something looks cute, watch out for what you cannot see! I thought that wasn't true until he gets older, but apparently it's just different dangers now!

I have to say, it was the best birthday party I could have imagined and hoped for. We debated having something so large, but we value our family and our entire church is our family in so many ways. They have prayed for us, sent us cards, e-mails, brought food, visited us in the hospital, cleaned up our yard, cared for our children, and simply loved us. Some ladies mentioned that Justin and Travis are as much their grandchildren as their own blood relatives. That means so much to us. We love our children, but for others to love them is special.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Little J is One!

One year ago today our world changed. We added another sweet boy to our family! He arrived early in the morning, and we spent the rest of the day basking in all that was our new boy: his smell, his fingers and toes, his pouty lips, and his breath as he slept. He sighed as he slept, sometimes the only sign he was still with us. Travis adored him, and still does. He wanted to hold him and take him in the same way we did. Travis knew he was special, and so did we.

Today is a day to celebrate! We made it ONE WHOLE YEAR! The first days we weren't certain we would survive a day or a week, but now our little boy is a wonderful one! It's been quite the year, but Justin acts as if it were nothing. Isn't that good? I am not even sure what to say. What is Justin to us? He is hope for eternity. He is compassion and love. He is as unique a member of our family as Travis or Randy. There is no other person quite like him. And we have so much more to learn about that little person. What do I love about Justin? That I am his very favorite person in the whole world (for now!) That his eyes are windows to his soul. That he can light up a room better than anyone. That he is changing and learning and doing more each and every day. That so many people love him and consider him their child and grandchild. That he is our son.

I am becoming a better person because of Justin. I think that sums it up. What a year! SO many more to come!