Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reach for the moon, baby!

When I got home from my concert tonight (after a WHOLE DAY without Aidan), I almost melted after hearing Chad talk about his evening with the Pod.

First, they went for a jog in the stroller. Good, good, exercise is good.

Then, they sat outside on a blanket and played the drum. Music teacher's delight.

And then, Aidan tried to reach for the moon.

Chad said a full moon was out at dusk, and he swears Aidan was staring right up at it, reaching one little chubby arm towards it, and making a grabbing motion complete with grunting sounds. And then, he reached both towards the moon. Chad said he did this for the rest of the time outside. Ahhhh, so cute!!

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Oh, and get this people - he took his first steps!!!! Seriously? Is it beginning already?

I was on the couch, with a bowl of hot soup. He was standing, holding onto the recliner, about 2 feet away. He took one look at my soup and decided to go for it. And he did! Two little wobbly steps later, he was at my bowl! Too bad I was so freaked out about him burning his hands on the hot bowl, that I couldn't enjoy the moment! : (

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Vlog - oh yes, I now know the word. Vlog is a video blog. In other words, you turn the camera on YOURSELF (yikeroos!!) and let everyone know exactly what your voice sounds like, maybe view a part of your home, and show off what you look like with that extra 10 camera pounds. haha

Well, as much as I hate watching myself on video, I really didn't mind the challenge (thanks Alicia!). BUT... I can't download videos! Ever since Chad switched all the computers to Vista, I can no longer download videos. I have to have a "firewire" outlet, which my computer doesn't. I've been bugging Chad to fix this, but it's definitely NOT on any priority list.

Anyway, I did a run-through just in case he does decide to work on it this weekend (hint, hint, HINT honey!), and it was a complete disaster!! I was sitting by the piano and ended up letting a rambunctous Aidan bang on the keys from my lap. Then I sat him on the piano bench by himself. Next thing I know, he slips off the bench and lands on the floor, hitting his head on the bench on the way down. Not exactly what I had in mind for everyone to see!!! Ugh. : (

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Going back to Children's tomorrow. More eating instructions for Aidan... but this time, he has to fast during the day. Yeah, try explaining to an 11-month-old that he can't have lunch because he needs to get a steroid injection later! Oh, the things we go through!!

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I think I need to really change my diet. After hearing about Brooke's 25-pound weight loss (holy crap, girl!) and Krissy's 10-pound loss (can't remember the last time I lost 10!!), Im feeling a little inspired. Inspired enough to not beg Chad to make a Skinny Cow run? No. But maybe I won't get pizza in the cafeteria at the hospital tomorrow!!

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Oh, and I'll leave you with this pic... rockin' his new Pediped "Maxx" shoes at Nana's house, gettin' 'em all good and dirty... and scuffed. Not sure if he wanted them off, wanted to dance, or was just delighted to kick rocks without hurting his poor little piggies! Either way, it was the cutest thing I've seen!



Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just another day at the hospital (continued)...

Ok, so I may have made up the prices to my "priceless" list, but thank goodness Aidan's double-covered! Insurance should be footing the bill for yesterday's many visits!

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MRI (9-11:30am)

crawling at children's
crawling at children's1

After checking in, letting Aidan roam the halls of the hospital on hands and knees, and meeting other midget cuties (including an adorable 9-month-old boy named Gus), we headed back to Radiology. Without breakfast, I had imagined Aidan being irritable and starving. Apparently he turned that into extreme hyperness!! And Aidan is NOT normally a hyper child. Whoa! He was a handful!! They brought the cage crib in and Aidan was climbing all over!

daddy's legs
laptop head

They weighed and measured his fat little butt... 25 1/2 pounds and 30 1/2 inches. Ta-dow!! All his energy finally wore off and he fell asleep in my arms as I was singing "Jamaican Farewell." : ) Ahhhh. Of course, literally ONE minute later, the nurse comes in to say they were ready. Perfect timing.

boy with lens cap

MRI table behind the curtains...
MRI

I wish I hadn't gone back there, but they asked me to carry Aidan to the table. I laid a sleeping boy down and they took his binky out, which made him start to squirm a little. Then immediately they placed a mask over his nose and mouth, which triggered his sucking reflex (since he was STARVING!), and he started licking and licking. Now, I'm a horribly clausterphobic person. So to watch Aidan squirming for a minute or more while they had his nose and mouth covered made me feel like they were suffocating him!! It was awful and it was all I could do not to cry. But I managed to walk away without a tear. To take my mind off it, I went to the cafeteria for breakfast while Chad did some work (mmmm, donuts). : )

View from the Radiology floor (Whale 4)... you can see the Space Needle between the trees on the left.
space needle view

The MRI took 40 minutes and then he was asleep for about 30 minutes after. As they wheeled him into the room, I had flashbacks of his post-lip surgery and that poor, swollen face. But he wasn't swollen. He didn't have stitches. And he was back to normal within 30 minutes... much different. He knocked his little oxygen tubes out of his nose, gagged out the "tongue" protector, and was choking on some saliva for a bit, but then he was fine. I gave him a bottle and he was happy as a clam!

recovery
sleeping boy

tongue device and the mask from anesthesia
tools

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Cleft team visits (12:30-4pm)

1) Pediatrician - reviewed MRI results. Her words were, "Everything we were worried about was fine, but it seems like there's always something new!" HUH??? So... Aidan's spine/sacral dimple was fine. The nerve that was previously "up" had corrected itself, as they suspsected it would. His brain looked fine as well, although he does has large ventricles. Since I'm a moron with anatomy, she explained that his left and right ventricles are areas that contain spinal fluid. If they were really enlarged, this would be a worry for hydrocephaly. But she wasn't worried at all. Makes sense if his head is bigger that the ventricles would be as well.

The bad news (maybe) - they found a 2mm pocket of fluid in his spinal cord (where there shouldn't be fluid). They're not going to do anything about it now, but that means we can't just call it good with his spine. So eventually, he'll probably have another MRI. Ugh.

I LOVE our pediatrician - she's young and down to earth and answered all of my questions (especially about binkies after palate surgery - she says "Ok!!").

2) Plastic surgeon - love our surgeon too. He drew an awesome drawing of a non-cleft affected mouth and a cleft-affected one, and what he'll be doing during the surgery. It's a lot of releasing tissue here to pull it across there, etc. Sounds complicated! He'll be able to have a bottle after surgery, which was a relief to me. He said no pacifiers, but I wouldn't call Aidan's "bottle nipple" a true pacifier. We'll see... maybe I can ween him by July?

BIG NEWS - no lip revision, yet.

I'm taking Aidan up Friday for his first steroid injection into his scar. They'll do it again in July during his palate surgery, and again 3 months after that.

This doesn't mean he won't have surgery, though. Dr. B just wants to get the scar "calmed down" so it's easier to work with during surgery. He said flat out that he believes his scar was caused by the nose stents rubbing. Thank goodness he's not blaming us and our lack of scar treatment! I would feel so guilty. So... what that means is, his scar should heal better the second time around. He doesn't believe it's genetic. Whew!

non-cleft on left, Aidan's cleft on right (although he drew a complete cleft, whereas Aidan's is incomplete - it doesn't go all the way through his hard palate to the front. It's mostly clefted in his soft palate). The arched parts are the gums, dashed lines are muscles/tissues. Bottom right picture is what it'll look like post-surgery.
palate drawing

3) ENT - this was the first time we met the ENT (ear/nose/throat specialist). Last time at Children's, we were told Aidan would need ear tubes at the time of his palate surgery. But he hasn't had any ear infections yet, so we didn't understand why. He explained that 98% of cleft-affected kids prior to palate repair have fluid behind his ear drums.

And sure enough, he had fluid in his ears. So unless it miraculously evaporates before July, he'll have ear tubes put in. They'll keep them in for 2 years, so hopefully minimize/eliminate childhood ear infections.

4) Job share - and finally, my worse news of the day had nothing to do with Aidan or doctors or surgeries... but with my own job. My job share partner called while we were at Children's with the news that she wants to go back full-time this fall instead of job-sharing again with me. Whah. : ( So either I go full-time, or I get someone to work with me. Hopefully my principal will post the position soon and start interviewing, because I want to work part-time again!!!

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Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! I'm only 32 and told Chad I felt like my "eggs are about to dry up." I'm so dramatic!!! haha We do have #2 on our minds, though. : ) For my birthday, I was Pod-free for 2 hours and got my hair cut and colored. Woohoo!!! And then I stopped by one of our favorite seafood restaurants, Budd Bay Cafe, and ordered dungeness crab & cheddar sandwiches, strawberry-rhubarb cobbler, and creme brulee. Yum, yum!

I also got a call from my brother and it was great to hear his voice! Of course he called while I was getting shampooed. Ugh! Chad and I decided for our birthdays, we bought a Burley bike trailer. Should be here tomorrow!! Does anyone else have a bike trailer? How young were your kids when you first used it? I'm wondering if Aidan will wear a helmet?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Just another day at the hospital...

One yogurt, a chocolate milk, and a powdered donut for breakfast: $4.96
One MRI to check Aidan's spine and brain: $2000
One appointment with a plastic surgeon, a pediatrician, an ENT specialist, a radiologist, an anesthesiologist, a social worker, two nurses, and a hospital photographer: $900

Looking in the rearview on the way home at two healthy, sleeping boys: priceless.

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I'm working on a recap (with pictures), but it's late and I'm exhausted from appointments and information overload. So I'm hitting the sack, with my new quilt at the foot of my bed - thanks Mom!! I'll post tomorrow with all the news from today: good, bad, and things that make you go, "Huh?" : )

(if you're a MckMama follower, please note I am not good with medical terms, have a horrible memory for details, and usually don't have a clue what the doctor is saying. Ok, maybe I'm not that bad - I'm just sayin' I'm no MckMama!!).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Almost all night!!

Aidan slept in his crib until 5am folks! Woohoo!!!! And after a bottle, some cuddling, peeing through his diaper in my lap (thanks Pod!), and a brief time sleeping on the changing pad, he's now asleep in his crib again. So Chad and I are spending our Saturday morning in bed with dueling laptops, seeing who types the fastest.

I think I'm winning. : )

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Pictures from last night... "Art Walk" and "Procession of the Species" in Olympia (read: a bunch of hippies dancing around, throwing fire, singing on the streets, and passing out tree starts for Arbor Day). : ) And today we might hit the parade, which, if you check out the website, looks awesome!! I can't believe we've never seen it!






And one of my crawling Podling just before he attacked my camera strap...



So... we hung out downtown with hippies and flamethrowers on our Friday night. : )

What did YOU do??

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sittin' inside on a gorgeous day

Doesn't my backyard look like a park right now?? I love spring!


As much as I would love to be outside right now, Aidan is napping (next to me on the couch). He's been sick. Again. Or has allergies... one of the two. He has the drippiest, most congested nose yet, and is making this crazy new gurgly growl sound, which sounds like he's getting ready to hock a loogie. Attaboy!

Anyway, bottom line is he's been sleeping horribly... in his crib. Great on the couch, though. After an entire week of interrupted sleep, I'm going to camp out with Aidan on the couch tonight so Chad doesn't pull out his eyelashes tomorrow. Ouch. Let's just say Daddy Pod doesn't do well on little sleep. How on earth we're going to survive Aidan and a baby is beyond me! (no, I'm not pregnant... I'm just sayin'...). : )

So... if Aidan's cold gets any worse, we'll have to cancel his appt. on Monday. I can't believe it, but his MRI is finally here. We're going up to Seattle on Sunday and hanging out with my friend Ande to celebrate our birthdays, and then staying at my mom's. Monday morning we head down to Children's. After he's sedated, his MRI is at 9:30am, and then we have a whole day of cleft team appts. to go over his palate/lip revision surgery. How on earth he's supposed to nap or eat lunch is beyond me!

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My new Marimba Ensemble shirts came today (I designed them!)... I'll have Chad take a pic later. They say, "got mallets?" on the back like "got milk?". heehee I have a Marimba concert next week and then 3rd/4th grade the week after. Spring is so busy! One of my 5th grade marimba groups is playing "Get Ready For This" (that techno song played at sports events) and they added dance moves today, including the sprinkler! Gotta love kids. : )

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I love Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. Y-U-M. But why the heck do they make the packaging so noisy and cumbersome to get into? You can't sneak a treat without hubby knowing, and you run the threat of waking up your kid!

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Did you know my husband was a cheerleader in college?

You didn't???

Oh yes, he cheered for the Univ. of Washington. We met the summer before I joined the Husky Marching Band. Band geek + Cheerleader = one odd-looking couple on game day. haha So, as my friend Ande pointed out, I really have nothing to worry about when Aidan's 10 feet in the air. Chad's probably the "most reliable catcher" and I'd have to agree. : ) But thanks to everyone for taking my side. It still does freak me out!

Here's my cheerleader, a week after we first met. He was ripped back then! Not that he isn't now, but, well, he's not. He doesn't work out 6 hours a day anymore, so what do you expect?!



Doing some tricks... he's second in line for the "Louie, Louie" surfboard stunt (he was always the tallest), and there he is holding up his partner in a one-armed "cupie" (and looking up her skirt, of course. Because he wasn't concentrating at all on lifting her body weight up on one arm... it was all about looking at those spankies.). : )



me and my piccolo roomates (yes, I lived in the "Picc house") : ) Boy, I miss my super blonde hair!



Those were the days... no Photoshop necessary on those smooth faces!! : ) haha Gotta love my hat hair.



Look Ma, there I am in the big Logo W!! Go Huskies!!!



Wow, this is making me want to post more "Flashback" pics from college!! Maybe next Friday.

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Ok, time to wake Aidan's little bum up before we have yet another sleepless night!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How'd I do that? My own "Fix-it Thursday"

When I sift through all the fabulous pictures over at I ♥ Faces, I always wonder, "Just how much has that picture been Photoshopped??" Well, now I know.

I have become a Photoshop junkie. Well, sort of. Photoshop is much like Fireworks, the program I've used until recently. But Fireworks is ancient and tutorials just don't exist. Online help for PS is abundant. Beyond abundant. While I can make my way around PS fairly easily (sorry my PS-challenged friends), there are a few things I looked up...

* actions (one-step processes... i.e. "cheater, cheater!!")

* how to do a layer mask (so you can edit just a portion of the picture, like the eyes)

* how to smooth skin ("Attention, attention, I've discovered the fountain of youth!!!")

With a self-portrait task this week, smoothing skin came in handy. Heck, it was downright necessary!! Especially when you're putting an almost 32-year-old face right next to an almost 1-year-old face. Tends to age one a bit.

It's too late in the evening for a full-on tutorial (with screen shots and the works), but for those interested, I'll give you a quick run-down of how I went from this:

original self-portrait

to this:

me & Pod in the mirror

* I isolated my eyes into a different layer and upped the brightness and contrast

* Did some cloning to erase scratch on Aidan's nose (and if you look close, you'll see I didn't do a perfect job)

* here's where the fun comes... I discovered with this tutorial (smooth skin) that the BLUR filter is my friend! I first worked on my face. If you follow the tutorial, it has you add a "surface blur," which somehow is smart enough to just blur the face. Then, you go back and isolate out the eyebrows, eyes, mouth, nostrils... anything that looks funny being blurry or "smoothed." And voila! Skin is smoother, wrinkles gone!! Better and easier than cloning all your imperfections!

* So then I thought I needed to fix that drool-covered strap somehow... and the BLUR tool came in handy again! I isolated just the strap into another layer and blurred it, which evened out the color.

* then the final step - I ran the "Soft and Faded" action by Pioneer Woman, and it changed the tone automatically to that warm, mellow color everyone seems to like!

I didn't go through nearly as many steps when I edited my Self-Portrait Adult entry. And there's no way I could edit every picture I post here... I just don't have the time! That's why I just hope my pictures look great straight out of the camera!!

Boys will be boys...

They fly in the air, much to Mama's protests...

And laugh in delight as Mama Pod screams in horror...

They freak out when they're set in the grass because grass is gross. (wait a minute, that sounds like Mama talking!)...

They also have bad hair days and don't even give a rip. : )

They purposely look away from you when you're desperately trying to get their attention. What's up with that??? (although I am in LOVE with those dreamy eyes! So I'll forgive him)...

They like to play with trucks. Big trucks. The kind you can ride in.

They try to throw up hand signs to look "gangsta" (because that puppy dog onesie is pretty gangsta to me)...

Align Center

And when they're done attempting gangsta, they go back to their true roots... ballet. Look at that form!

They stick out their tongue at the dinner table when they want more food. Or just 'cuz they feel like it.

They drive mail carts in their underwear. (Don't they all???)...

They're full of smiles and pride when they figure something out.

And Mama Pod couldn't be more in love with her boys.

Ahhhh. : )