Thursday, September 30, 2010

On this day 10 years ago

I married Todd, my best friend and the love of my life. It's hard to believe that a decade has already gone by since that day. There are some details of the day that I remember like they were yesterday, even though 10 years have passed. I wish I had a picture to post here but we got married before the digital age. So much has changed since that day but yet so many things still remain the same. We have 2 wonderful children and are blessed with a house to raise them in.

10 years ago, I was so nervous as I prepared to become a wife. I was so excited to be getting married to Todd. Being married to him is everything I hoped it would be and more. We have shared so much of our lives together and I know we will share many more things as the years pass by. It's funny to me because I never wanted to get married or have children before I met him. I truly believe that meeting the right person changes everything and I feel extremely happy to have Todd as my husband.

5 years ago, we found out that we would be parents for the first time. What a wonderful anniversary present to ourselves! Todd is a loving and supportive father, just as I knew he would be. I think it's one of his best qualities, along with being a great husband to me.

As we celebrate 10 years together, I look forward to what the next 10 years will hold with anticipation. I know they will be just as good, if not better, than the first 10. Todd, I love you so very much and can't wait to celebrate next month!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big Wheels

Our local children's museum, EdVenture, was having a special outdoor exhibit for one day only called Big Wheels. We thought it would be fun to take Michael. Todd stayed home with Katie while Michael and I went to the exhibit.

We got there a little after 11:00 and went inside the museum to get our tickets. We met some friends there and all headed outside to see the trucks. Of course, it was another hot day and I think the temperature was pushing 95. Thankfully, some of the trucks were in the shade of the parking lot!

Michael got to sit in the cab of several different types of trucks, such as the recycling truck, crane, cement mixer, and Army truck. He also got to sit in the shovel on a front loader. I didn't realize just how big the shovel was! They also had a hydrogen fuel cell bus and Michael got to sit in the back as well as the chance to "drive" it. At each truck, there was an employee who drove it and explained how it all worked. There was also a trash truck and an emergency vehicle. Underneath a tent toward the end of the exhibit, there was a sandbox with small Tonka dump trucks and front loaders. Michael and his friends seemed to find this to be one of the most entertaining things to do.

We stayed for about an hour and a half before heading out. If the day wasn't so hot and it wasn't close to lunch, we may have stayed a bit longer. I was able to get a few pictures of Michael in some of the trucks.

Sitting in the shovel on the front loader

Driving the bus

Outside the cab of the cement mixer

Getting ready to operate the crane

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I thought it was fall

Earlier this week, I saw that it was the first day of fall. Other than a few stray leaves on the lawn and the return to school, I would still think that it's summer. The temperatures here have remained in the mid 90's on a daily basis. I still try to stay in the shade to keep from having sweat drip down my back. Michael keeps asking me why we can't go to the pool anymore, as it's been closed for almost 2 weeks now. I have contemplated taking the baby pool back out and setting it up here for the kids to play in and cool down.

I heard a rumor that next week is supposed to bring cooler temperatures. I imagine that means something in the high 80's. I am not really complaining as I am not a fan of cold weather at all. But it seems like we jump straight from summer to winter. It will be unbearably hot one week and then the next week I am looking for my fleece pullover.

It's hard to get in the spirit of fall with such hot weather. Halloween is just a little more than a month away and I find myself wondering if the costume that we got for Michael is going to be too warm. I decorated the inside of our house for fall to get ready!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The First Game

After practicing for 2 weeks, tonight was the first game of the soccer season for Michael. Saturday was Opening Day and they had team pictures as well as a scrimmage. Tonight they played the same team they scrimmaged on Saturday, the Lynx. Michael's team is the Fury. It was fun to watch all of the kids trying to figure out how to play the game. A few of his teammates have played before but this is the first year for most of them.

The game consists of 4 7 minute quarters. All of the players on the team get equal playing time. A few of the players sat out for the first half and some sat out for the second half. Everyone gets a chance to play the different positions too. They don't keep score officially but I think everyone was keeping track. The other team scored the first few goals and then we scored a few. The final score was 4-4.

Michael really enjoyed playing the game and got a little upset when it was his turn to let other kids play. I think he was having such a great time that he didn't want to miss out on any of the action. He was running up and down the field, going after the ball. He played defense as well but I don't think he liked it as much as he couldn't go after the ball! He had the chance to be the goalie but he didn't want to be. Michael was really excited when his team scored their first goal too!

It will be neat to see how his playing progresses as the season goes on. Here are a few pictures from the game today:

Monday, September 20, 2010

18 months, a few days late

Katie turned 18 months old on the 16th on this month. She is already halfway to two years old.

She had her well check at the doctor on Friday. Everything was good and she is right on track for developmental milestones. She weighs 25 pounds, 8 ounces (65%) and 34 inches (95%). Katie actually weighs more and is a little taller than Michael was at the same age. But everyone tells me that girls grow faster early on. The only bad part of the appointment were the two shots that she got at the end of the visit.

Katie loves to be outside and gets mad when I try to take her in before she is ready. If I go out the door without her, even just to get something from the garage, she opens the door herself and is right behind me. If she is tired and we are inside, you can tell that she will need to nap or go to bed soon. If we are outside, she can play for what seems like forever. She loved spending time at the pool this summer too. I hope to have her take swimming lessons next summer.

Katie is interacting with Michael much more in recent weeks. They can play nicely together on rare occasions, as long as she doesn't try to take something that Michael treasures. She wants to do whatever he does. Sometimes I think that she thinks she is 4 years old too. When we dropped Michael off for his first day of school, she went right into the classroom and sat down at one of the tables.

Some new words that Katie has learned this month are mine (and knows when to use it), ready, set, go, seven, eight, nine. She is now saying Mommy to me extremely clearly and calls me constantly. For the most part, Katie will repeat any word that you say to her or at least try to. It's so neat to be able to communicate better with her and I look forward to having conversations with her in the future.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

9 inches this time

Last Thursday morning, I went to get my haircut. I finally decided it was long enough to donate to Locks of Love and not be left with super short hair. I ended up donating 9 inches and got another 1/2 inch or so trimmed off. I don't like really short hair for me for some reason. It has been almost 2 years to the day since the first time I donated my hair. It takes me a little while to grow it out but feels so good when I finally get it cut off. I don't know if I will grow it out again to donate but we'll see.

Before pic (courtesy of Michael):

After pic:

I think this is a great thing to do if you can have patience and let your hair grow out. I feel fortunate to be able to donate my hair to someone who really needs it. I still have enough left that I could probably donate another 8 inches.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Not exactly how I wanted to spend Sunday afternoon

Todd and I were looking forward to a relaxing Sunday at home. He went to watch the USC/UGA football game at a friend's house yesterday and I had a friend and her 2 girls come to spend the night. They left this morning shortly before noon.

After we had eaten lunch, Katie went down for her nap and the three of us were just unwinding. Katie slept for about 2 hours and Todd got her up out of her crib. Michael heard her and went upstairs to see what she was doing. She made it halfway down the stairs with Michael following her.

Next thing I know I hear a big boom, followed by Michael crying hysterically. Todd and I both get to him at the same time. He seems to be OK so I ask him where it hurts. He puts his hand up on the back of his head and so do I. Both of us pull our hands back and they are covered with blood. It's at this point that I lose it and so does Michael. We are both the same in our dealings with pain and injuries. The smallest injury causes us to make a big production. But this was the real deal this time and it was a big gash!

We took him into the bathroom and tried to move his hair to see where the blood was coming from. He didn't want us to look at it but he finally let us. We asked him what happened and he said he slipped and hit his head on the baseboard on the stairs. After Todd looked at it, he said that we were going to need to go to the doctor for stitches. I called the nurses' line and they advised that we take him in. So we loaded everyone up in the car and headed to urgent care. By this time, Michael was pretty calm (thanks to a popsicle and sitting with Todd).

Michael got in to see the doctor within 30 minutes. The nurse took a look at his head and then called the doctor in. She agreed that he would need staples so they began the prep work. Michael got dressed in a hospital gown and the nurse put some medicine on the cut to numb it. He wasn't too happy about having to have that pressed on his cut. The doctor asked if we would rather she give him a shot of lidocaine, clean the cut and staple it shut. We thought this would be best as this would be the quickest way to get it done.

The doctor wrapped him up papoose-style to keep him from trying to put his hands up on his head. This caused more crying and screaming than the actual procedure. It was at this point that I left the room with Katie for 2 reasons. One, I didn't want Katie to try to get up on the exam table and agitate Michael further and two, I do not do well with shots, staples, and injuries in general. While we were out in the hallway, I heard screaming and Michael asking if it was done yet. Within minutes from the procedure being over, he was feeling fine and asking me where his treat was. I pulled two lollipops out of my purse that I had put in before we left the house.

Tonight, Todd put Neosporin on it before Michael went to bed. He asked about the things in his head that were a little pointy. I told him that they would make his cut heal. He asked how they were going to get out. I told him the doctor would take them out next week.

All in all, he did pretty well considering what had happened. 5 minutes after he got the staples in, he was running around the waiting room with Katie and played outside with one of his friends when we got home. And he felt well enough to eat a brownie with cream cheese icing.....that sounds OK to me!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I want to play soccer ball

A few weeks ago, we signed Michael up to play soccer this fall. I asked him if he would like to play soccer and he told me that he was ready to go to play soccer ball. The day that i signed him up, he wanted to play that day. I told him he would have to wait for a couple of weeks.

He is playing with other 4 and 5 year old boys and girls. Seeing all the little kids out on the field is too cute. The first practice was on Wednesday night. They will have several practices and then their first game will be in about 2 weeks. The team will meet on Monday and Wednesday nights, with the game being on one of those nights.

Last night, they went over a few rules of the game, such as not picking up the ball with your hands and how to kick the ball and stop it when passed to you. Michael was ready to learn and seemed to really have fun on the field. The practice lasted about 45 minutes. Every kid had a turn to kick the ball into the goal. They also worked on passing the ball with another player and stopping the ball after it was kicked to them. After the practice was over, Michael wanted to keep playing. We let him know that he could come back next week to practice some more. I can't wait to see the first game.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Johns Hopkins, Part 2

Last Tuesday, we had the second of our appointments at Johns Hopkins. Michael was scheduled for an echocardiogram at 1:00 and then Todd & Michael had an appointment with the cardiologist at 2:00.

This was the first time that Michael has had an echocardiogram at Johns Hopkins. We didn't know what to expect but it was an awesome experience. While we were waiting to go in, Michael got to look at a book with DVD movies and shows in it. The technician came out and asked him which one he would like to watch while they did the echo. He picked Scooby Doo but the DVD was skipping so his second choice was The Incredibles. With the movie playing, Michael was cooperative through the entire echo, which lasted about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, Katie wasn't so happy about being in a small room for so long. The technician was great and said it didn't bother her how many times we had to leave the room or how much noise Katie made. That was a good thing because it was a lot. I finally took her out to the waiting room with the toys. It was nice to have Todd there to stay in the room with Michael!

After the echo, we went into the exam room. The physician assistant, whom we have met with for the past 3 appointments, came in. She normally goes over the family history and any changes that have happened in the past year. If we have any concerns, we address them with her and she relays them to the doctor. If we have any questions throughout the year, we can call or email her. She will check with the doctor and gets us an answer quickly. It's nice to have this contact!

Todd's echocardiogram, which he had done at his cardiologist in Columbia a few months ago, looked great. The size of his aorta was unchanged and hasn't changed since 2006. It is staying in the range of 3.95 - 4.00 cm. They won't consider surgery until it reaches closer to 5.0 cm. Hopefully it won't get to that size.

Michael's echo looked good too. They measured his wingspan, as well as his height. They plotted his height on a chart for Marfan patients. His predicted height is between 5'11" and 6'. We talked about his appt with the orthopedic doctor the previous day, as well as his shoe inserts. We also discussed the medicine that he is taking for his heart. At the end of the appointment, they had Michael do a test to measure his heart rate. He had to run up and down 2 flights of stairs. They already had his resting heart rate and his heart rate after exercise was over 100. The doctor would like for it to be under 100 so they are increasing the dosage of his medicine. He was taking 25mg of Atenolol and will now be taking 50mg.

Katie didn't have an appointment but they looked her over as well. She wasn't very cooperative but they did manage to get her height and weight. We talked about starting her on the same heart medicine as Michael. The doctor said that it was an individual family choice but he would recommend starting her on it. The sooner the better to keep her aorta from getting enlarged. If she hopes to have children in the future, her aorta needs to remain under 4cm to avoid a high risk pregnancy. So Todd and I decided that she will start on it now. The prescription is a liquid and she is very agreeable to taking it, which is a relief.

So everyone had good checkups and we will go back again next summer. It's always a relief when we hear that things haven't gotten any worse. In the meantime, we will continue with checkups at their doctors here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Second Opinion

Last weekend, we headed up to Johns Hopkins for doctor appointments for Michael and Todd. The first appointment was to see the orthopedic doctor for Michael on Monday at 1:00. When we got there, the doctor was in emergency surgery and we were going to have to wait. They said that the wait could be up to 2 hours long. We sat down, prepared for a long wait but it ended up being less than an hour.

Once we went back to see the doctor, he looked at Michael's x-rays that we had brought from his orthopedic doctor here. He said that he saw a slight bit of scoliosis. He looked at Michael's legs and saw how his feet are toward the ground. After evaluating Michael, he told us that he didn't foresee any major problems and that we were doing everything we should be doing at this point. He recommended that Michael continue physical therapy and to continue to wear his shoe inserts. He let us know that the inserts would not correct the problem with his feet but would give him support where it is needed.

He also looked at Katie briefly and said that he would recommend her seeing an orthopedic doctor for a check in about a year. So we basically got confirmation that we are doing all we can for Michael right now, which is what we were hoping for. Sometimes it's just comforting to get a second opinion.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Day of Preschool 2010

Today was Michael's first day back to the same preschool that he went to last year. He is now in the 4 year old class and is going 5 mornings a week this year. The first day of school was actually Monday but we were out of town for doctor's appointments.

When Michael woke up this morning, he asked where he was going today. I told him he was going to school. He said that he wanted to get dressed and go. I let him know that school wasn't open yet since it was only 7:15. So he got dressed, ate breakfast and we headed outside to take some pictures.

After the pictures, we loaded everyone in the van and headed to school. Michael normally gets dropped off in the carpool line but we walked him inside for the first day. He tried to go inside his classroom from last year but we took him to his new class. His teachers this year are Ms. Jan and Ms. Maureen. He was good friends with twin boys last year but only one is in his class this year.

This year he will have more special areas, like Spanish, music and science, every week. His new classroom has a computer and they will work on learning their phone number and address, as well as numbers and letters. I am looking forward to actually getting some details about school this year from Michael as he learns new things! And it was much easier sending him off to school this year than it was last year. Maybe it's because I was home with him this summer or maybe it's just because I know how much he loves his school.

Here are a few pictures from his first day:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It only took 3.5 years and 650 miles

for Joanna and I to finally meet!

Since I am from New Jersey and still have quite a bit of extended family in the area, I knew it would only be a matter of time and planning before I would get to meet Joanna. Most of our trips up North are for a family event or doctor's appointment so free time is usually hard to find.

Joanna and I have been chatting online almost daily since shortly before our boys turned one. We were both working moms who pumped for our boys and we commiserated daily about the struggles and joys that went along with that. We got to know each other well as a part of the thread killers thread and neither of us was willing to let it die. When I wake in the morning, I know that most days there is going to be a post from Joanna to greet me. And she knows that when she checks in daily, I will have often posted after she has gone to bed the previous night. If one of us hasn't posted on a weekday, it usually means that someone is sick!

We decided to meet at a mall for dinner that was halfway between her house and where we were staying with my relatives. When I saw her, it was like meeting a long lost friend. And she was exactly what I expected too!

Our Michaels got along so nicely, which is always hit or miss for 4 year olds. After meeting each other, they instantly started playing with each other and it continued through dinner. When we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, Joanna's Michael went outside before my Michael did. He was visibly upset that Michael had left without him. I told him that he would have a chance to say goodbye. It was too cute!

Katie and Michael were a bit crazy from being cooped up in the car all day, which made for an interesting dinner. It seemed like there was so much to say and so little time to say it all. That's one of the things that I find the hardest about these meet-ups. I have developed a great relationship with Joanna and had so much that I wanted to talk about and be able to get an immediate response.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera in the car so I wasn't able to get any pictures. But Joanna did get a few with her phone, including an awesome one of our boys together. You can see it here.

I was so glad to finally meet Joanna and her family. It was nice to be able to put a voice to the words that I read on a daily basis. I know that people are skeptical about making friends on the internet but I have met so many great people because of it and Joanna is one of them. I can't wait until we get together again.