Friday, September 21, 2012

Miracle of miracles

This post is pretty self explanatory, heh.  5 weeks ago (about), we discovered that there's a reason there are disclaimers on birth control that state "99% effective at preventing pregnancy".  We are the 1%.  When a spirit wants to come, there ain't no stoppin them, certainly not a silly little pill :)  With as difficult as it's been in the past (before Caden) to get or stay pregnant, we've been blessed to be pregnant again with Baby Numero Dos.  If things go well, we will meet our new special little spirit next May.  Wish us luck! (Can you even imagine how obscenely cute Caden's going to be as a big brother?!  It boggles the mind).

Monday, August 6, 2012


Ok. I suck. I'm a terrible, awful, horrible blogger, and I vow to do penance for my crimes.

A LOT has happened since February. Bullet points!

* March - A CT scan for Nugget which revealed a massive sinus/facial infection
* April - A tonsil & adenoidectomy for Nugget to relieve said massive infection (recovery was
* May - A promotion for Branden
* June - New DAFO's for Nugget
* July - A move to Washington state and a cruise to Alaska for our 10th anniversary

I promise to, in the next several days, try and get as many pictures - and details - of the happenings in each month up on this blog. Pictures of some of them are up on my Facebook page. If you have a Facebook account, find and friend me :)

N-night for now. More tomorrow!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2011

I know I'm a little behind the times with this, but better late than not at all, right? Christmas this year was a tough one on our little Nugget. He was SO sick. But he found that Christmas excitement nonetheless and I just love him to bits. Here's a short clip of him opening his first couple presents that morning:

My son just has such pure joy and love for everything...who gets excited at the prospect of opening diapers?! He couldn't have cared less what was in that present, it was the fact he got to open a present that gave him joy. I wish I could harness that life outlook for myself.

The rest of the day kind of went downhill. He still got to open some presents, but he felt worse and worse as the day went on and by that night all he wanted to do was sit in my lap and snuggle with blankets. Poor bug. But whether he knows it or not, he brought the Christmas joy into our lives that day.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I'm a horrible blogger

I realized this afternoon that it's been nearly 2 months since I last posted anything here.. But partly in my defense, that's because SO much has happened between my last update and now. Where to start? Probably best to go with the order of things as they happened. I'll do separate posts for each, as every update has either a bucketload of pictures or a video with it.

On the 18h of December, my little Nugget turned 3. I can't believe how much time has flown by. He shouldn't be 3 already!! He got spoiled, of course.

This was a little button puzzle type thing his Aunt Heidi got him..he LOVED it:

At the time, he was mildly obsessed with Sesame Street. So we got him a Sesame Street cake fit for any Nugget:

And here he is kissing and luvin up on a stuffed monkey of Grandma's that he just LOVES. He held onto it most of the night before presents:

And what would any birthday post be without the newborn picture?

This little dude came into our lives at about 9:19pm December 18th of 2008 weighing just a bitty 6lbs 9oz and measuring a tiny 18inches long.

I don't care how big he gets. He'll always be my baby Nugget. He has brought challenges, fears, joys, lessons in patience and adaptation, and love into our lives. He touches the lives of everyone he meets, be it family, friend, or total stranger. He has a light about him, a pure unadulterated joy that people just notice in even the barest of interactions with him. A smile, a 'hello!' from him in passing in the grocery store, his constant jabbering and hilarious comments, his enthusiasm to learn and just soak up as much of life as he possibly can in a 24hour time period...people notice him, are drawn to him, whether they want to be or not. And I love it. I love him. I can't even imagine, can't even remember what life was like before that snowy night he was born. Mommy loves you so much, Lovebug.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Every new beginning is some other beginning's end

The day that had only been looming in the back of my mind for the last 3 years.....well that day came and went this morning.

Caden turns 3 on Sunday. Today he had his last class with his little Early Intervention play group, and had the last therapy appointment he will ever have with any of his 'team'. He has officially exited the program.

I knew this day existed. From day one in the program I knew it was out there. I knew what it meant. I thought my having a hard time with it would be solely because it meant my baby was growing up into a big boy.

I was wrong. I was so wrong.

I woke up this morning prepared. Or so I thought. I got up, got him dressed, did his hair, drove Branden to work; it was business as usual. Until I pulled into the school's parking lot. It suddenly hit me: Every person in that building we saw today, today would likely be the last day we saw any of them personally. His little brain wouldn't understand what that meant.

Mine did.

We saw his PT, Barbara, in the halls before his class started. We talked. He even got to see one of his first speech therapists we didn't see at the Christmas party, remembered her (I think) and gave her a hug. I was *fine*....until it was time to go into class and Barbara knelt down on the floor at Caden's level and he walked up to her, laid his head down on her shoulder in a hug, and gave her a kiss. It was a good thing that we both had places to be, because my composure was sliding fast.

He played hard in class, I was fine again during the parent group they have in the building while their kids are in class. Then it was time to go. I was ok getting him from the classroom, relatively composed as he gave each of his teachers and hug and a love and told them 'bye bye, see you!', did fairly good as I gave 'Teacher Sue' a hug myself and we walked down the hall and out of the building.

I dissolved in the car.

You don't interact with those kinds of people on that kind of level for 3 years and not get attached. I don't know how they do it kid after kid after kid, because I was a completely mental, sobbing basket-case on the drive home.

I snapped back into 'keep it together woman!' mode for his last speech therapist appointment, which was right after class and at home, and held it together long enough to get him fed lunch and put down for a nap. Once he was asleep it hit me again.

We were done.

I know that he will have a new support team as he moves into his preschool at Canyonview. He'll love his new class. He'll learn new things. He'll grow. He'll be fine. Where does that leave Mommy? His turning 3 didn't just mean he was growing up, moving on, it meant leaving behind people that have been part of my life, coming into my home every other week and every month since he was 6 weeks old. They became every bit as much MY support team as they were Caden's.

I love them all. And as corny as it might sound, I feel as though I've lost dear friends.

I am going to miss having their beautiful spirits as a presence in my home.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Touched by Angels

I can't believe I'm writing this. Caden will be 3 years old in less than 2 weeks. Wait, 3..?!? Where the HECK did the time go? I am quite certain that just a few weeks ago I was holding him in my arms for the first time ever and marveling at how right he felt in that place. Now he'll have preschool, and be riding a school bus, and meeting new little friends and having new experiences that might overwhelm or even frighten him at first. Man,turning 3 is going to be so hard....on Mommy. Not just because he's getting to be such a big boy and learning and growing in leaps and bounds, but because of what turning 3 means we have to now leave behind us.

I had very specific dreams / visions of first-time motherhood. My baby would curl their little fist around my finger as they nursed, their little feet would scrunch up against me as I held them chest-to-chest, and their little body would be just as perfect as could possibly be.

Then I had Caden.

Those dreams dissolved, awash in diagnoses I barely understood. My baby couldn't curl his fist around my finger because his own fingers didn't bend, he couldn't scrunch his feet up against my chest because he lived the first 4 weeks of life in plaster casts and the rest of the time in boots with a bar between his feet, and his little body overall was far from 'perfect'. We were told he probably wouldn't walk without some kind of external adaptive means of aid, were warned that he might never hold a pencil or crayon or spoon or be able to feed and dress himself. What a reality, I thought.

Then I met the 'team' from Early Intervention that was chosen to work with him, as they came and went in his life and in terms of his care as each saw him. Now, because of them, I have a new reality: My baby can curl all but his very top knuckle on both hands, he learned to walk on his own (even if late) without any external means to keep him upright, he's learned to hold pencils and crayons and spoons, and has met every other major milestone so far in his life either on time or just a few months (instead of years) behind. Because of them, Caden has a new reality as well. They helped him get to where he is today; a stupidly happy 3 year old who loves school, loves people, loves life, and can experience it as most any other toddler his age would. They helped him express that joy when it came time to master sign language and then speech, and fed that joy with an outpouring of love whenever they saw him, in a therapy setting or not.

His little mind may need some jogging in the years to come to recall their names and faces....but his mother will NEVER forget. As he moves into his 3rd birthday and we prepare to leave these precious people, I know that his 'team' will never leave us. They have made their mark. And I can look people in the eye and declare without hesitation - or doubt - that my life has been touched by Angels.

Tonight at the Early Intervention Christmas party, I gave them (as a group) a little plant with bright yellow leaves, with a little note I'd written that read simply:

"Doctors told Mom I was 'different',
People said I'd be slow,
So I just wanted to say thank-you...
For helping me grow."

My heart is so full, and 'Thank you' will never be enough for these people.

Caden's Early Intervention team:

Bottom, L to R: Teacher Becky, Teacher Sue, Judy (OT)
Top, L to R: Barbara (PT), Suellen (Speech), Michelle (RN)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Flynn the fire engine

Wednesday was field trip day for Caden's Early Intervention little preschool class group. This field trip was, hands down, the best one yet. They went to the South Ogden Fire Department. Caden could have died right then and have had all his life wishes fulfilled.

In one of his Thomas videos, the engines meet a fire engine named Flynn. Flynn the Fire Engine. He's their hero, and Caden's too. ALL he could talk about Tuesday night was going to see Flynn the fire engine in the morning. He almost couldn't contain the excitement as we got in the car Wednesday morning. And he about exploded when the tour guide firemen got the group to the back and into the garage of the department.

Sitting in the back seats of the fire truck:

One of the firemen showing Caden some fire engine innards:

Sitting in the ambulance:

Then back to the fire truck to sit in the front driver's seat. Pushing every button within reach. Honking horns:

And then he got to ride the hydraulic stretcher from the back of the ambulance:

Then it was over to the other side of the garage where the support vehicles were. The four-wheeler, checkin his side mirrors and revin the engine:

The rescue buggy:

And of course he had to move around to check out the back of said rescue buggy:

He was a little wary of when the fireman got all dressed up in his digs (but this was the point of the excursion, to get little ones used to seeing them like this and know they're friendly):

Then the guy took his goggles off and looked down, thus the 'O' face here. Caden could see the guy's eyes and was like 'Oh so THAT'S who it really is. Oh okay then.' And then he was fine:

After the pictures the firemen got out of the gear. As he was standing back just in his blue cargos and t-shirt, having just stepped out of his boots and set them aside, Caden goes "Take off gray shirt?" figuring hey if you're going to undress you need to finish all the steps. Bless his heart the guy goes "As much as the mothers of this group might like that, no." We died.

The day was so fun. We spent almost an hour an a half exploring every nook and cranny of the South Ogden Fire Department's garage. He came home with tire grease on his face and hands, a little plastic fireman's hat, and a day of joy he will never forget in his little toddler mind.

Ending note: He fell asleep for nap after this at about 1:30.....and didn't wake up until 15 minutes to 5pm. Yeah. I think he enjoyed the day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mastered the toddler years, I have

The Force is strong with this one.

This year for Halloween, Caden was Yoda. I found the costume on the site for $12 and we just had to do it. It wasn't quite the caliber of the lobster costume of last year, but I don't think we'll ever top that one. The walking stick was homemade, hooray for big trees and a yard.

Inside a bounce house at the Davis Fairgrounds for the Halloween party Daddy's work held on the 18th:

Pondering all things both Jedi and toddler:

On Sunday we painted pumpkins at Grandma Berrett's. Well, Caden painted his pumpkin....and Mommy painted Caden (he'd already smeared some of the paints on his face unintentionally, so I thought why not make it art):

So intent on getting the paint in JUST the right spot on this pumpkin:

Then I added to the toll-paint tatts just before dinner:

And this is where he ended up before having a gloriously toddler dinner of corndog (we usually can't get him to eat hotdogs or a lot of any kind of meat, so this was huge), roll, and Halloween cupcake (he loves baths, anytime, and having one at Grandma's house is extra special):

The actual night of Halloween started at about 4 in the afternoon and lasted until about 8 and consisted of 2 parties, lots of food at each, and visits to all the family's houses. It goes unsaid that he crashed about as hardcore as a little boy can when we got home and had bath and bed. Holidays, any holiday, are so much more fun with kids. Love my Nugget.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My child of God

Caden loves to sing along to songs that are sung to him, songs he's memorized. This is him solo-singing "I Am a Child of God" and 'playing' the piano with my mom, about a week ago. It doesn't get much more precious, more pure and closer to God, than this.


Tuesday the 4th was a major milestone for my little Nugget. His first Early Intervention pre-preschool class without Mommy in the room. Same teacher, same aid, no parents. This is what they call their 'transition class'. Kids going to the little weekly classes (they call them 'groups'), which is what he's been doin every Tuesday since January, are put into the transition group glass 3 months before they turn 3 years old to get them ready should they qualify for a preschool program (which most of them do) when they do turn 3. I was SO nervous/worried about this transition. Why? Nursery. Caden simply cannot handle Nursery on Sundays. If I'm in the room he is mostly okay; he can look around, find me, and have something to ground himself on. When he flies solo? Nuh-uh. He only lasts about 5 or 10 min before they have to bring him to me, and we're not talking 'mom's gone so I'm going to pitch a fit' carrying-on, we're talking full-on wringing the ears, shaking, resistant to every act of attempted calming, meltdown...genuinely freaked out. So I was so so so worried about how he would handle going solo in his preschool group.

I shouldn't have.

Mom, really? Another picture? You're embarrassing me...:

And just before the door opened:
I'm ready! Can I go in now? Huh? Now? Can I?

About 5 min before the little class was to end, they came to the room us parents were hanging out in and just made my day. They said "He did SO good. He just loved it. He looked around every so often and would go 'Mommy? Where Mommy go?' but then was fine, like he knew you were gone, but big deal." I was thrilled! And mucho surprised. When I walked into the classroom he squealed "Mommy! HI Mommy!" then came over to me, pulled me down to my knees in front of him, grabbed my face with both hands to make sure I was paying attention, and proceeded to tell me ALLL about the day (only about 4 words of which I actually was able to decipher). He jabbered about it all the way home, had to tell Grawmma (my mom) all about it when she called later that afternoon to see how it went...he was so excited. Every class since has been the same thing. He does fine when I leave, has a blast during class, then can't get it out fast enough when he tries to tell me about it later.

I love my little dude so much, and am so proud of him. But I don't like how fast he is growing up! Can't someone slow down the clock a little....please?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Caden Gump (or Adventures in Podiatry)

Another day, another trip to Shriners, and another set of braces. This time a pair of DAFO's (dynamic ankle/foot orthotic). Because of his tight hips, he's been having problems with walking on the balls of his feet. These braces, if you click and enlarge and look closer at the outside edge near the ankle, have a joint in them that allows him to flex his toes (bring them up) but not extend them (point them downwards), forcing him to walk with his feet flat on the ground. They're hoping this'll put the stretch on his hips during the day.

Chillin in the exam room, waiting for the doc to come back in with some adjustments made:

His iPad Angry Birds game keeping him company while yet another adjustment is made to the length of the footpads:

The final fitting with new shoes (he had to get special ones from them cause the ones I had with me were all to small to fit to go home in, d'oh!) before a test run around the room:

His ski-boots. These shoes really do look huge on him:

And with the angle of flexion this holds his ankles at (think how you feel if you've ever worn rollerblades or ski boots), it's taken him a bit of practice to re-learn how to walk without tipping over backwards or forwards. Stairs are a conundrum for him again. And trying to get up to standing from sitting on the floor is an exercise in persistence and a plethora of frustrated grunts and 'sthuck!' (stuck!) exclamations. But my Nugget is a fighter, Mr. Adaptable, and it won't take him long.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

School's in session

And while Caden's not quite ready to toddle off to school himself just yet, his group with Early Intervention DID get to go on a bus. Since so many of the kids in the program end up being placed in a preschool of some kind, one of the things they do is take the kids on bus ride to get them used to school buses. This trip was on the 3rd of this month. I'm just a slacker and haven't gotten around to the pictures until now.

I was a little worried about how Caden would handle it, he kind of has issues with enclosed spaces he's not familiar with. Yeah. I shouldn't have worried, hehe. He LOVED IT. He squealed when he saw it in the parking lot. He was so excited to get on it. Not sure that I like how excited he got Don't want my baby growing up so fast!

He's so SMALL next to such a big bus:

Scoping out the best possible seat:

Found it!

Watching the other kids get on the bus:

So much seat for so little body:

Special Ed buses have the COOLEST feature; behind the flap of the seat is a carseat harness and the kids just get buckled right into the seat. SO much less 16th century than the harnesses you used to have to strap onto the kids and then clip to the anchors on older buses. Caden LOVED the carseat, thus the 'squeal face' here:

Loved being so close to the window to look out it during the drive:

We stopped at a playground where the kids got to goof around for a bit, have some snacks and popsicles (it was HOT) and juice. There were tears when we had to get off the bus at the playground, and it was pretty much only this horse that consoled him and kept him entertained enough till it was time to get back on the bus and go home.