Saturday, February 28, 2009

Eye Doctor

Ryan and Brooke both went to the eye doctor on Thursday. Ryan has been going ever since he got out of the NICU. While in the NICU, he developed retinopathy of prematurity (R.O.P.) in both eyes, which is common in preemies. Due to this and the laser surgeries he underwent (more in the right eye), he had significant scar tissue in his right eye, which caused his retina to start to detach. They tried to reattach it, but it didn't exactly work. Ryan is most likely legally blind in his right eye. He's very nearsighted in his left eye, which is why he wears glasses. The same prescription lens is put in both sides of his glasses, only to balance it out and not make his glasses heavier on one side (his prescription is very high and his lenses are very thick). The glasses don't/can't do anything to help the vision in his right eye. The doctor keeps a close watch over the pressures in Ryan's eyes. The pressure in his right eye is elevated and he recieves eye drops daily (one he gets 3 times a day and another he gets right before bed) to keep the pressures down. So far the pressures in the left eye have been normal, which is great. If the pressure gets too high (and can't be controlled), it can result in loss of vision. The eye doctor likes to keep a very close watch, especially over his good eye because we don't want anything to happen to damage the vision in that eye.

In order to check the pressures in the eye, an instrument (it looks sort of like a pen) is placed on the eyeball to measure it. It doesn't hurt and is sort of like having a contact lens placed in (or so I've been told...I've never experienced it). Ryan's old eye doctor (whom I did not care for and eventually switched to this new one a couple years ago and LOVE) used to struggle with Ryan to get the pressures checked. The first time we went to this new doctor (who is much, much better with kids), he told us he would like to do a sedated eye exam on Ryan to get a very good look at his eyes and easily check the pressures and know he was getting an accurate reading. It's a very quick procedure and well worth it. He had his first one two years ago last month. He was supposed to have another one this past April, but we had to reschedule it after Brooke was born and he had it done in July instead. Everything is holding steady so far and looking good. When he gets a little older and more mature, the doctor will be able to do this without having to put him to sleep.

At this appointment, the doctor told us he would like to do another sedated exam in May. He said he didn't see anything that concerned him from his exam in the office, but he wanted to get in there and get a good look. At that time, he'll also check his vision and see if he needs a new prescription or not. The first time Ryan had a sedated exam, he was a MESS when he woke up from the anesthesia. My mom and I had taken him out and we had a heck of a time getting his coat on him to leave and then getting him buckled in to his carseat to get him home. He was just so out of sorts : (. After we finally got him buckled in and on the road, he was sleeping within 5 minutes and was fine once we got home (it's almost an hour's drive). This past July when he had it done, he did GREAT : ). He didn't even go to sleep in the car on the way home! So I'm hoping this time will be just as easy : ).

Brooke passed her eye exam in the NICU with flying colors. We had her with us in July when Ryan went for his sedated exam and I asked the doctor about when she should be seen for the first time and he said at a year old. So we just set her appointment up the same day as Ryan's even though she's not *quite a year old since, like I said, it's almost an hour away. He did the initial exam and then dilated her eyes. He checked her retinas and her vision. Everything looks good! We knew she wasn't having problems seeing, but we wanted to be sure there wasn't anything going on we couldn't see. He said she is farsighted, but just how a "toddler" should be. Whew! (Ryan got his first pair of glasses at 14 months old and it was impossible to get him to keep them on. He didn't start wearing them regularly until he started preschool and now he only takes them off for baths and bed.) So he wants to see her back in 2 years and if everything looks good then, then he'll see her at age 5! We just have to keep an eye out (ha pun intended) for any drifting or crossing of her eyes or anything like that, but he's not expecting anything to pop up.

Both kids were VERY well-behaved while we were there and we were there for nearly 2 hours! It does not normally take that long, but they were a little backed up that day and then with him dilating Brooke's eyes and having to wait an additional 15-20 was just a very long appointment. Afterwards, we went to the mall out there and got lunch and did a little bit of shopping. It was kind of a long day, but the kids were both awesome (even at the mall) and it was fun : ).

I do believe this is probably one of my longest posts ever! Hope I didn't bore anyone ; ).

Spa Time Baby Cozy Care Cape Giveaway

Say that 3 times fast ; ).

Tara over at Through Hazel Eyes is hosting another giveaway!. This product sounds so great for moms of young children! Here's some info from Spa Time Baby:

*bath time becomes a relaxing, nurturing and pampering experience

*drying baby is easy, safe and comfortable

*no more tucking a towel under your chin or in your shirt

*keeps caregiver dry with exclusive waterproof panel

*unique cape design keeps your shoulders and arms dry

*caregiver's body is a natural towel warmer

Machine Washable * Tumble Dry
Soft Absorbent * 100% Cotton Terry Cloth

So head on over and enter for your chance to win!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy 11 Months, Brooke!

Posting this one day late due to a long, busy day yesterday...more on that later.

Wow....11 months. I am truly in awe that my baby girl is one month away from being a year old. The first year really does go by SO fast.

Brooke had a busy month! She learned to sit up on her own. She learned how to crawl. And she learned how to stand up at things and now stands up at anything and everything she can! She is such a busy little baby, always moving from one thing to the next, now that she's really able to get around. She doesn't spend much time in one place playing with any one thing. She is LOVING her newfound freedom. It's taken a little bit of adjusting and getting used to her being so mobile, but I love watching her explore her environment and how proud she gets when she accomplishes something.

Another new "trick" she learned this month is patting your hand when you say "patty cake". So cute. She hasn't yet got the actual clapping down. I'm excited for that because I think it's adorable when babies clap : ). Another thing she loves to do is "sniff" at you, while smiling this big cheesy green. OMG, I LOVE it. I'll have to try to get it on video (and then hope I can post the link here and get it to work, unlike when I tried to post a video of her crawling).

I'm also VERY happy to report that she has been sleeping through the night for almost a month straight now : ). She does sometimes wake for her blanket and then goes right back to sleep when I find it for her, but no more waking up and not wanting to go back to sleep and stay asleep for an hour or more : ). It is SO nice!

I had posted last month about moving her up to Level 2 bottle nipples and her drinking about 5-10oz. more per day. That lasted for a couple weeks and then she got a cold and wasn't eating as much. Even once she got over her cold, she still was only taking about 18-20oz. a day. But all of a sudden, several days ago she started eating really well again and has been taking close to 30oz. a day. Another growth spurt maybe? She goes in for her next (and 2nd to last for the season) synagis shot on Wednesday, so we'll see how much she weighs then.

Okay, I could ramble on and on about my little girl, but I don't want to bore you all too much ; ). So with that, I'll just leave you with a few more pictures. She wasn't too happy when I first started...note the tear on her cheek in the first pic. I had to post it because I love the expression on her face.

I think I've said it before, but just in case anyone is wondering, I only use the Boppy pillow in the pictures now for size reference, not because she need sit (obviously, lol).

So proud of herself for standing up like a big girl!

P.S. Next month, I plan on posting all of her "month" pictures in her 12 months/one year post!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another big milestone

A couple days after she got this toy, I said it would be the first thing she ever stood up at on her own...and I was right! This picture was taken on Saturday and it was the first time she ever pulled up to stand at something on her own! She only did it once Saturday, but she did it numerous times (at different things...the gate, her Fisher Price piano, her Hop'n'Pop, etc.) yesterday and today already. As I type, she is standing at the toy box behind me trying to get Ryan's Doodle Pro out, lol. She hasn't yet figured out how to get down without falling, but she has gotten the hang of falling "gracefully" down pretty hasn't gotten any boo boos from it (yet). Here are a few more pictures of her practicing her newest milestone!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Busy Bee

Brooke sure is keeping us on our toes now that she is crawling! She is almost constantly on the go. This means a lot of supervising, making sure she doesn't get stuck anywhere or get in to anything she shouldn't. It also means refereeing her and Ryan and trying to keep her from annoying him *too much. She has a bazillion toys, but she mostly wants Ryan's bowling pins, blocks, Doodle Pro, Gameboy, etc. As soon as he gets something out to play with, she is *right there to see what it is he has and what she can try to take from him. It's kind of funny, but can also get annoying having Ryan always complaining about her. Sometimes I put the gate up so she is in the dining room and can't get in to the living room where he's playing to give him a little peace. If the gate isn't up blocking the kitchen, she won't stay out of there. It's like she's magnetically drawn to go out there. LOL. Her being so mobile also means more boo boos from her bumping her head on things or falling while attempting to stand up at something (she has yet to master this, but she sure tries). So there are lots of tears around here most days...luckily, they don't last long.

I really, really hope I don't jinx anything by posting this, but she's been sleeping through the night for almost 2 weeks straight now! Most nights she will wake up once, sometimes twice, but I find her blanket for her and give it to her and she goes right back to sleep. So I still count it as sleeping straight through. Definitely better than when she was waking up and not wanting to go to sleep and stay asleep for up to an hour (or more). She is sleeping most nights by 8:30 and wakes up sometime between 7 and 8 am. She doesn't have a set nap schedule...I've tried, but she's too unpredictable. She takes 2-3 naps a day, but never sleeps for more than 2-2 1/2 hours total usually.

Ryan is doing well. He's getting over yet another cold. This one Brooke didn't get. He's off school this whole week for some reason and keeps asking when he can go back to school. LOL. That's my Ryan. He spends his days bouncing between watching cartoons, playing his Gameboy, bowling, playing golf, playing soccer, or drawing on his Doodle Pro. He loves to play the Wii, but doesn't get to play it every day and we kind of use it as leverage with him to get him to stay in bed until 7am (he has a habit of getting up at 5 or 6, which is way too early and results in him being very crabby) and/or eating his dinner without a fight. Our biggest issue with him at the moment is getting him to eat meals without having to nag him to eat the whole way through. If it's something he REALLY loves, then he eats great, but if not then he pokes around a lot and is always the last one done. I'm thinking this is probably fairly typical for his age, though.

I was going to type some more, but it's time for Brooke's midmorning bottle, so that's all for now folks!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I was right!

Last Saturday (the 7th) I posted saying that Brooke was trying to figure out how to crawl and that I thought by this Saturday she would be. I was right! She was crawling short distances by Thursday and by Saturday was crawling the whole length of a room! She's a little tornado already, getting in to everything she can. LOL. Notice the 2 baby gates in the above pictures - the one on the right is blocking the stairs and the other is blocking the kitchen. We just put those up yesterday. She's also already trying to get to things on the shelves on the entertainment center and we've had to do a bit of rearranging. If there is a cord (like for instance, Ryan's Gameboy charger) around to be found, she will find it...and try to chew on it. Yikes! This little girl is definitely going to keep us on our toes, I can tell already!

Last night we were playing a game of darts in the dining room (yes, we have a dart's fun!) and we took the gate at the stairs down to give Brooke more room so she could play on the floor near us so we could keep an eye on her. She figured out how to climb up on the first step.

That was the first time she ever stood up at something (besides holding on to someone's hands and pulling herself up), so I'm sure it won't be long before she's standing up at anything she can. I'm now worried she's going to figure out how to walk soon since she learned how to crawl so quickly. I am SO not ready for that. LOL. Ryan didn't walk until he was 25 months old. I know she won't take that long, but I'll be totally fine if she waits a few more months before walking.

You'll also notice in the picture of her on the stairs that she got a boo boo yesterday. Ryan was playing bowling on the Wii and Brooke sat up right in front of him right as he swung the remote : (. She had an instant goose egg. This was the FIRST time he has played where she wasn't contained in either her Hop'n'Pop or activity chair...and look what happened. I feel terrible : (. From now on, we'll be extra careful that she is nowhere around, and safely contained, when he is playing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Five years ago today was one of the happiest days of my life. After 6 long, grueling months in the NICU, we FINALLY got to bring our tiny little miracle home. And yes, it was Friday the a LUCKY day for us ; ). It was a much happier day than the day of Ryan's birth because on that day, we didn't know if he would live to go home one day. Ryan weighed 1lb. 6oz. when he was born on August 20th at 23 weeks 5 days gestation. His due date was not until December 12th. Due to an ileostomy he got at one month of age because of a bowel obstruction, he struggled to gain sufficient weight and was only up to 6lbs. 4oz. when he came home at 6 months actual/2 months adjusted age. They couldn't send him home with the ileostomy due to him not being able to absorb sufficient nutrition, so we had to wait until he weighed enough for the surgery to reconnect him and that didn't happen until January 22nd. Other obstacles he battled during his NICU stay included numerous infections, on the vent until he was almost full term, heart surgery to close his PDA, and Stage II R.O.P. (eyes) and 2 laser surgeries to help correct it, which then lead to his right retina starting to detach. Surgery to try to repair it was not very successful and he is now most likely legally blind in his right eye (sounds bad, but things could be so much worse for him, vision-wise). His NICU stay was definitely a roller coaster of ups and downs and we thought we were even going to lose him at one point, when he was one month old. But he's here! And he's healthy! And he's thriving! And he's...just amazing :*).

Here's some pictures and highlights (good AND bad) of Ryan's 6 month NICU stay.

August 26th
That's my hand on his back...unbelievable how TINY he was!

September 9th
Kangaroo care with Mommy for the first time!

September 13th
Kangaroo care with Daddy for the first time!

September 13th
His first close up! His poor little ear was somehow banged up during delivery : (.

September 10th
Seeing his eyes open for the first time in person! They were still "fused" shut when he was born.

September 24th
Not long before he went back for his exploratory surgery to try to find out why he wasn't pooping and why he was SO, SO sick : (.

September 25th
The day after his belly surgery where they found a bowel obstruction, which resulted in an ileostomy (similar to a colostomy).

October 25th
Doing a lot better!

November 8th
One of my very favorite pictures of Ryan because I think he looks like an adorable baby monkey. LOL! He was sitting up getting chest PT (to help with any lung secretions) from our favorite nurse, Carmen.

November 16th
Seeing his sweet face for the very first time without any tubes or tape obstructing our view! He had extubated himself from the ventilator and they tried him on CPAP, but he pooped out after 40 minutes.

December 2nd...10 days before his due date!
Wearing clothes for the 1st time!

December 20th
Ryan's 1st Christmas portrait...underneath the tree in the hallway of the NICU!

January 22nd
Smiling at us before his surgery (to reconnect his intestines) to let us know everything would be okay ; ).

January 25th
Three days after his surgery, still sedated and on the ventilator. They took him off the vent and let him wake up the next day (26th) : ).

February 7th
One of the last pics taken of Ryan in the NICU, 6 days before he came home!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Special post

Tomorrow marks a very special anniversary for our family. I've got a post all ready and scheduled to publish early tomorrow morning because I didn't want to forget to do it. This anniversary more specifically has to do with Ryan. Any guesses on what it is? : )

Hint: It's the fifth year we will be celebrating this event...

It's a Contest!

My Mommy Loop friend and fellow blogger, Tara, is holding an awesome contest over on her blog ~ Through Hazel Eyes ~ to win a pair of See Kai Run shoes for your little one! Here's a little bit of info about the shoes.

This is from See Kai Run:

Our Shoes
See Kai Run and Smaller promote healthy development of babies' and children's feet with their ultra-flexible soles, soft leather and wide toe box. Our footwear meets the American Podiatric Medical Association's rigorous standards for foot health and functionality and has been awarded the APMA's prestigious Seal of Acceptance.

About the APMA.

Why See Kai Run?
Healthy Fit

Very flexible soles are healthy for developing feet.
Wide opening and toe box accommodate even the chubbiest little feet.
Velcro closure allows for adjustable fit and easy on and off.
Leather lining is breathable and durable.
Padded collar adds comfort and helps our
shoes stay on little feet.
Quality Construction

Leather used for our footwear meets the most stringent available U.S. and international guidelines.
Sheepskin leather uppers are butter-soft and more durable by weight than cow leather used by many other brands.
Durable construction and rubber sole stand up to heavy play indoors and out.
Urban Style

Hip, urban styles in modern color palettes.
Bold designs and detailing.
Modern takes on classic styles.

Head on over to Tara's blog to enter! You don't need a blog, just a valid email address. What are you still doing here? GO! ; )

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mattress thumper

Ryan was a mattress thumper when he was a baby. In other words, he would lay in his crib at night and pull his legs up and then slam them down on the mattress...over and over and over again...until he fell asleep. LOL. I thought this gene skipped Brooke and was pretty thankful since she is my "roommate" for the unforeseeable future and the thumping was annoying enough with Ryan hearing it from another room of the house ; ). But alas, she has started just within the last week. She doesn't do it all the time, but last night I woke to her stirring around 4:30am. I got up and gave her blanket to her because she couldn't find it since she was laying on top of it on her back. Then I laid back down and she started thumping, lol. It seemed to go on forever and I could not fall back to sleep and was ready to go strap her legs down ; ). LOL. Here's hoping this phase doesn't last long!

I'll post some cute pics I took of her this morning : ).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Feeling better

Ryan and Brooke are both mostly over their colds. Brooke had 3 rough nights (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday), but the last 2 nights slept straight through : ). Her formula intake is down a little. Hoping it picks back up when the cold is completely gone.

Her newest thing is blowing raspberries. That's what I woke up to yesterday morning at 7am : ). She was laying in her crib, just blowing away. LOL. As I type this, she is on the floor behind me playing, blowing raspberries.

Not crawling yet, but she has really mastered sitting up on her own! She is also constantly getting up on her knees at things. It's made it so nice the last couple of days now that she can get up at some of her toys instead of laying there pitching a fit for you to help her up. LOL. Yes, she used to do that alllll the time!

She has a "toy corner" in the living room where all her toys "live". (Ryan's things are mostly in the dining room....yes, our downstairs looks like Toys'R'Us, lol.) Yesterday she managed to dump her toy basket.

And yes, she thought it was funny and was very pleased with herself! ; )

This morning as I started typing this (had to save it and come back to it), she was "getting in to" Ryan's toys in the dining room. One of his 2 sets of bowling pins...she loves his bowling pins almost as much as he does, I think. I see many fights between them in the future over those! LOL. That baseball toy beside her tush Ryan has had since he was about 18 months old! And he still plays with it! See all those things leaning up against the toy box? Those are ALL golf clubs @@. Two of them we got at a yardsale over the summer. Another two are from Gator Golf, which he just *had to have and has hardly played with. And the other two are from a Little Tikes golf set that he just got last month in replacement of a Christmas present we returned. I guess I better just learn to accept that we have a little jock on our hands ; ). LOL.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Soooo close...

Brooke is thisclose to crawling! The past 2 days she has been getting up on her hands and knees SO much and has even moved a tiny bit. Not what I would call "crawling" yet, but I think by next Saturday she will be! : ) She has also figured out how to get in to a sitting position from the all fours position : ). Go Brooke!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Now she's sick

Ryan started with a cold on Saturday. Nothing major...just a sniffly nose and some sneezing. He didn't even get a cough this time! I was hoping Brooke was going to avoid it this time, but she didn't. She seemed to be sneezing more than usual yesterday (she's a sneezer, lol)...and I was hoping it wasn't a cold settling in. She went to bed at 9 and seemed pretty restless between then and when I went to bed at 10:30. I had just fallen asleep going on 11 and she woke me up. She was fussing and I could hear that she was getting a little stuffy. I tried just giving her blanket to her, but she wanted none of that. So I took her out of her crib and sat on the bed and rocked her. Got her back to sleep and tried laying her back in her crib and she woke right back up. So back on the bed I went with her. I just knew she was not going to stay asleep in her crib, so I tried laying her down in my bed when she went to sleep and again she woke right back up. At this point, I'm thinking, 'Great...the only way she is going to sleep tonight is if I sit up and hold her.' I was thinking about kicking Doug off the couch so I could sit downstairs with her and maybe get some sleep. I held her for a good 20 minutes after she went to sleep and tried laying her down again. This time she stayed asleep. This was around 12:30. She woke back up at 2:30 and I had to sit up with her again. Back down she went around 3:15. She was extremely restless between then and 6 when Ryan woke up...and I didn't get much sleep. She kept waking up, crying and I slept with her from about 4:00 on with her in my arm (sooo not comfy, lol). The funny thing is, she doesn't even seem *that sick. She doesn't sound congested...she's just been sneezing a lot. I was surprised she wouldn't sleep. She usually sleeps okay when she has a cold. She woke around a quarter to 7 and was happy as a clam then. LOL. Of course ; ). Hopefully her cold stays very mild just like Ryan's. Don't want her to lose any of that precious weight she just gained! Not to mention, miserable, sick babies are so sad : (.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

YAY for Level 2 bottle nipples!

Ever since we started using the Level 2 nipples for Brooke, she's been drinking about 30oz. a day instead of barely 20oz.! I could tell that she was getting heavier and I haven't had that feeling in a long time because she really has been gaining SO slowly. I was SO excited for her synagis appointment today to see what she weighed because I was expecting a significant gain. On the 14th of last month, she weighed 14lbs. 14oz. I almost jumped up and down when the scale showed 16lbs. today!!! Maybe that's silly to get so excited over something like that, but oh well...that's me. LOL. She gained 1lb. 2oz. in THREE WEEKS! That is so awesome, especially for her : ). I don't know if some of that was just a growth spurt (which she was due for, I think) or if maybe she'll keep gaining that well with drinking so much more...either way, I am THRILLED : ).

Not so thrilling is the fact that she has a yeast diaper rash : P. Last Monday, I think it was, she woke up with a poopy diaper and had a terrible diaper rash. It was sooo red. It was mostly cleared up a couple days later and even now is just about completely gone, except she has some red dots on her "girly parts" that won't go away. So the physician's assistant prescribed Nystatin cream for her. Hopefully that will clear it up quickly!

Wordless Wednesday

My friend Virginia made these for me....isn't she talented? : )

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gotta post it anyway....

My intentions were to post this picture ONLY if the Steelers lost last night. But I think it's cute (does that make me a bad mom? lol) I'm posting it anyway!

She was ticked because I took her hairbrush away from her to take her picture!