"The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched-they must be felt with the heart." Hellen Keller

Monday, December 13, 2010

He's a MANIAC!

Let me just start this post by saying.....I have never seen a child fight so hard to live for the first five months of his life and then decided to spend the days thereafter trying to kill himself!
Seriously!!!!! Ok! So I SWEAR that I watch this child when I am with him, like a hawk in fact. He has his very own "cage" in our living room and if I leave the room I take him with me or let him follows. Also, he is not only officially walking, he is RUNNING, SPRINTING in fact with his heads held high above his head! He looks like Clark Griswold running towards the amusement park in the first "National Lampoon's Vacation" movie. He is a mad man! So far in the past few weeks he has
-attempted to eat a small glass ornament. He managed to break it in his mouth, YES I KNOW RILEY AND I WERE HORRIFIED! but I was able to fish it all out right away.
-he somehow found a very small glasslike shell that we have NO IDEA WHERE IT CAME FROM and he chewed it up and ate it. Yes, he swallowed this one.
-he managed to get on top of the lego table, stand up and take off running at a high speed. I barely caught his feet as the front of his body scraped down the side of the table and left a NASTY strawberry. Did I mention that he was naked as well??
-He climbed up on top of a toy and starting taking pictures and signs off the wall (some that were lower to the ground)
I could go on for hours! Seriously!!!!!!
But he is sweet as they come too! In the mornings he LOVES to hold his babies close to him and snuggle them and he loves to sit in my lap on Saturday mornings and watch cartoons. If he is tired he nuzzles up against me like a cat. And I tell you, when he smiles....I swear angels sing. He has the BEST smile I have ever seen. And, giggle.....oh the giggles that this kid lets out! He has a good, hearty belly laugh too but those are saved exclusively for Riley.
He is working me! Working me hard! I spent this past weekend with him literally wrapped around my leg or hip, like an animal. The boys were gone and he wanted me ALL TO HIMSELF! We did have a good time but I believe that perhaps once, maybe twice I used the term, "sucking the life from me!" :) I really am enjoying my time with him! He is such a ball of energy and fun! As everyone says, "I am not sure what we did before he came!"
Christmas is only 12 days away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!EEEKKKKK!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Change

Isn't it funny how we change? How our lives change? How hard change is? How sometimes all we want is change! Before Bryson was born I was kind of a "safety first" person. I wouldn't say I was the most reserved person but I had lived in my hometown my entire life, and that was good for me. I was "comfortable"! Comfort was my stability. I have lived here all 34 years of my life and I have had the same job since high school. Weird, right? Seriously, no changes for me! I was afraid to drive anywhere. It was one of my biggest fears. However, I had a sick child, very sick. I was stuck in a totally unfamiliar town living without my other two children, counting on strangers to save his life. I had no choice but to "grow up" really fast. Granted, it isn't like I am a teen but I was living as if I was in some ways. I had no choice at some point but to drive in Dallas (scary as hell at first)...then I had to learn to drive in Dallas by myself, then I had to drive from my hometown to Dallas, at one point I was staying in a hotel in Dallas by myself. If you would have asked me if I would ever do that I would say, NO WAY! I had to become an advocate for my son. I had to talk to doctors in a way I was not used to, being much more assertive. I had to realize that I wasn't that little girl anymore who just took what I was given and said, "thank you". I had to deal with emotions I NEVER dreamed of having. I had to make decisions for my family that I NEVER thought would come about. Mark and I were tested beyond belief in our marriage. I was in situations with family members that proved to be devastating. I had literally had no major changes in my life in 33 years. And boy EVERYTHING changed in a blink of an eye...not to mention that my grandpa and grandma died right before Bryson was born. Change....it was a coming for me. Now.....now that I am looking at it from the outside and now that I am at a different place in my life.....I see it. I see that I was so fearful before...so guarded, and now, I feel virtually fearless. I feel like I could take on the world! And I am ready for more change. My family is too! I can't say a lot right now, because I don't know a lot but it might involve a move....not sure where, not sure when. But it is nice to look forward to change, rather than fear it!
Oh, and before I go....Bryson is TALKING! He says, "mama" and "dada" and "riley" (kory is not happy about being left out of his vocabulary, but it will happen!) he says "dog" and I think that is it. It is hard to understand him sometimes but he is a chatterin' little thing! He is still not sleeping at night. He still wants the bottle at night. He is even up to wanting two full bottle at night! I hate to cut him off though because honestly he is on a learning curve. He just got the bottle and just got to eat so I can't cut him off. Plus they want him so very fat and this is the way to do it. He does sleep late on the weekend and for that I am SO GRATEFUL! As of December 17th me and the kids are off for two weeks and I am so glad! Can't wait!!!!! Christmas is going to be AWESOME! If Bryson even sees toys on tv he starts yelling and grunting. That kid loves him some toys, and I am MORE than happy to oblige! Oh, and for any of the nursing staff at Children's who are reading. I lied! I told you all that I would NEVER spank him. Well, I have! I know, it is terrible! It isn't like I have beat him, just a little smack on a covered leg or behind...and only a few times. But he knows and it makes him mad. He even hit me back one time and grunted. Turns out that he is heading towards those terrible twos!!!!! I thank God every day for that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

hello again!

Thank you to the people who got in contact with me regarding the blog. I guess I am just one of those people who needs an audience! Don't we all!
Our Thanksgiving was certainly not the best Thanksgiving, but it certainly wasn't the worst. I think Thanksgiving will always be different for me than it once was. Thanksgiving last year was honestly the worst time of my entire life. Bryson was at his sickest and we were in a struggle of what to do. I will remember that every November, no matter what I do. With that, I also remember how very thankful I am! So thankful for my sweet children, family and many friends!
We drove to Brownwood on Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Bryson started running fever that afternoon and was just sick. I really thought it as his throat and the next day I knew for sure by the grimace when he went to eat anything. We ate Thanksgiving lunch and then hurried back to Odessa to take Bryson to the ER. He screamed all the way home. The visit to the ER was short and sweet, which I love. I always like to see the surprise on medical staff's faces when I explain his medical history. They look at me like I am just full of bull!
He slowly got better and has been super clingy. No more "sleeping through the night!" now. He has gotten into the habit of waking up in the middle of the night again and so here we go.
OH, I forgot to share something super-duper cool! Bryson is walking! Oh, he thinks he is BIG stuff toddling around everywhere. He gets up and gets started and just smiles at me and puffs out his chest. It is so cute! He started walking the day after his 14 month birthday. Pretty good for a kid who layed flat on his back for the first 5 months or more of life, pretty good indeed!
And, in case I hadn't mentioned it before, he is so smart! Yea, got it from me! He has seen me blow on food at restaurants to give him so now he blows (more like "spits") on his food too. He is an ornery, rotten little thing!!!
Those other two kids are good. Just kidding! No, they are good. Riley is reading his books up a storm, he loves to read and Kory is playing the guitar up a storm. They are both doing really well in school and so far, (shall I even say it), this year there hasn't been much drama concerning school. I sure hope that continues!
I am so ready for the holidays and we found all of Bryson's Christmas stuff from the hospital. It is hard to believe that he spent Christmas in the hospital. I still feel bad for not being there with him on that day, but I had to think about Kory and Riley too and Bryson will never remember that, but I will. Anyway, we found a bear and some ornaments and a card that were given to him by JoJo. For those of you who don't remember she was his neighbor in the CICU and she died on January 3rd, the day before she was due to go home. It hurt to see those things and it brought back a lot of memories of people who will be missing their sweet babies on Christmas, either because they are gone from this earth, or stuck in hospitals. I am so thankful we are going to be home and it is going to be the best Christmas. OH, and we hung up the infamous "First Christmas" stocking that Bryson had in the hospital (thanks again Aunt Rita!) and we hung it up next to his new stocking that was made by Mark's grandma (thanks to you Sissy!) The gifts are bought, the tree is trimmed and we are all safe and warm and snug in our house. What could be better!?!?!?!?!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Things I Love!

I love Bryson's sweet, blonde curls! I love that my entire family is in my house together, warm, safe and snug! I love that Bryson is so close to walking that I can taste it! I love that my boys love their baby brother so very much! I love that I have such wonderful family and friends! I love that I finally found a sleep medication to curb my night terrors! LOL I love that my husband is about to take a different position at his company that will allow him to BE HOME! (I think I love that, LOL) I love my job, most days! I love that we are starting to go to church again! I love reading blogs! I love caring bridge! I love my life and the fact that I am in November of 2010 and not in November of 2010! :) I wouldn't change a thing about what happened but I can only say that because I am far from it! Just a note: if you read the blog, please send me a message and tell me. I am starting to think I am talking to myself, not that it is anything new, but if that is the case I might just give up and go back to Caring Bridge. Love you all, if you are there!?!?!?
video
video

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sick and Twisted! But you know you love it!

I am going to be honest....I stole this from another person's blog but it soooo good that I couldn't NOT share it with you.

“I hear religious minded people say all the time with good intentions. ‘God will never place a burden on you so heavy that you cannot possibly carry it.’
Really?
My experience is that God will place a burden on you so heavy that you cannot possibly carry it alone. He will break your back and your will. He will buckle your legs until you fall flat beneath the crushing weight of your load. All the while He will walk beside you waiting for you to come to the point where you must depend on Him.
‘My power is made perfect in your weakness,’ He says, as we strain under our burden.
Whatever the burden, it might indeed get worse, but know this-God is faithful. And while we change and get old, He does not. When we get weaker, He remains strong. And in our weakness and humility, He offers us true, lasting, transforming, and undeserved grace.”

-Greg Lucas

WOW, right? Seriously amazing! It is funny how you can know something, but when someone "says" it in another way, it just clicks...and you get it!
Also, some interesting news to share! We are going to be moving! Not sure when or where for that matter but I am super duper excited! We are staying in Odessa, I know that much but we are going to be moving into a bigger house. Riley and Bryson share a room and that was okay for a while but it isn't going to work for long. The way it works is like this....all of Riley's toys are in the room that he and the baby share.....all the baby's toys are in the living room (which works out fine because that is where he plays). The baby sleeps in the room and Riley sleeps with us. Have I mentioned that Riley weighs over 100 pounds! And I won't even begin to have you guess what Mark and I weigh! So, it is crowded! Granted, we might have 6 bedrooms and Riley would still sleep with us! For those who know us well, we have a strange thing where there is always AT LEAST one child in our bed. At one point Riley was in our bed and Kory slept on a mat at the foot of our bed. I know, our children literally stalk us! And yes, I know you are asking yourself, "gee, with all that action going on how did they manage to "make" three kids". Trust me, you get creative! And hell, my husband isn't home 85% of the time either! Life is never boring! Thankfully Bryson is blissfully unaware of the infamous "mom and dad bed" and has yet to want to be in there. Oh please Lord, let him never know!!!!! Let him never know that you can beg for stuff at the store and I will buy it for him just to shut him up. Let him never know that if he begs enough I will give him every quarter I have ever owned for those stupid gadget machines. Let him never know that when I say, "no more toys or anything until Christmas" that I really don't mean it! Yah, right!!!! I can't turn down those sweet blonde curls and that silly grin! Bryson's hair is so very pretty I have been considering putting a bow in it, just for a second, so I can see what he would look like. He would make a beautiful girl! I hate to say it but after all his scars I am thankful that he isn't a girl. I am not sure what those scars would look like over breasts! LOL! Seriously, don't tell me you never think of these sorts of things. Ok, so before I go I have to share with you the FUNNIEST joke ever. It is a little sick and twisted but it is too funny for me not to repeat it!
Ok, here it goes!

"Holocaust jokes aren't funny, Anne Frankly I won't stand for it!"
Haaaaaahhaaaaaa
Sorry!
You know you laughed!!!
:) :) :) :) :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yes, Yes and YES!







Yes, I am wrapping my Christmas presents. Yes, I let a 13 month old child help me. Yes, I have done ALL my Christmas shopping and pretty much wrapped it all as well. Yes, I ROCK! :) Just kidding! No, each year I do Christmas earlier and earlier. I am a lot of things but I am NOT a procrastinator, not in the least. I love to make lists but what I love to do even more is to cross things off the list after I do them. If I do something that wasn't on the list, I write it down and mark it out. It feels great! I love the long, messy lists with chicken scratchings all over them and lines crossed through everything. I feel so very accomplished when I look at lists like that! Yes, I am crazy! So crazy that I am having to finally, after all these years, resort to calling a doctor about my night terrors. For those of you who don't know the depth of my psycho behavior, I shall now share it with you. I have had night terrors for about ten years now. They come, and then they go. I will have one every night for weeks and then not again for months. Funny thing, they were pretty bad right before I got pregnant with Bryson. I remember thinking, "well, I guess this baby won't sleep with me because I will probably have a night terror and throw his infant body across the room." I was even worried about when I was pregnant what I might do to harm the baby. Little did I know I couldn't have harmed him any more than "fate" itself had. Anyhow, the minute I got pregnant I NEVER had a night terror until after Bryson got home from the hospital. It was so strange! Well, as of late, they are very bad, very bad and my husband has said that if I don't see a doctor about them he will no longer sleep with me. I guess it is pretty terrifying to be woken up in the middle of the night to shrill screams of madness while your wife jumps out of the bed and lunges at the wall. Yes, I am psycho! Sometime I wake up, sometimes I don't. If I don't wake up and Mark is there, he wakes me up, and he isn't happy and I am terrified too. Talk about creeping yourself out for the rest of the night. In the ones I remember, the truly terrifying ones, I see visions of someone scary lunging towards me, standing next to my bed. This weekend I ran down the hallway screaming. I am not sure how I managed not to run into anything. My eyes were closed until I got in the hallway and it was pitch dark. I literally woke up standing in the hallway. I don't want heavy meds, I just want to be able to sleep and not scare the ones I love. Although, it is good revenge when he has pissed me off! :)
Enough about my crazy ass self! Kory's band played on Friday night and WOW, they rocked! Kory was so excited and so pumped! It was great fun! On Saturday we did all of our Christmas shopping. Bryson does this terribly cute thing where if you all tell jokes and laugh he tries to laugh on cue too. It is so funny! He is usually a little late and after the laughter calms down he laughs this funny, fake laugh. He really enjoyed wrapping presents! Riley got his first deer on Sunday, a nine-point. He was so excited! I was so grossed out! I couldn't even take the pictures, I made Kory do it! It is supposed to get cold this weekend and I CAN'T WAIT! I am super excited. Scary movies, chicken and dumplins, snuggling, coloring, screaming night terrors! Oh, wait, that one slipped in unannounced! Before I go I will share some really good stories with you in reference to the night terrors. Kory has long since ceased to sleep with me when Mark and Riley are gone because of his fear of my fits. One night my nephew Morgan stayed the night and Kory had filled him in on the night terrors. They were going to sleep in my bed with me (it was a few years ago) and I know he layed there in the dark, wide-eyed, wondering if I was going to scream. He even woke me up several times to ask if I was ok. Another time, I went on an overnight retreat and this girl was in my cabin, we were bunk mates, and I felt like I had to tell her just in case. I swear to you she didn't sleep a wink. I think she may have stared at me all night. You have to admit, I keep em on their toes!!!! ;)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes!!!




WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES! WOW! Seriously! The bath tub picture was taken last night, and the other picture was taken in November of 2009. I can't believe it is the same baby. The same baby that had up to 7 tubes stuck in him at one time, now is standing up on his own! He is sooooo close to walking. Riley didn't believe me that he could stand by himself so I showed him. He about freaked! He can stand unassisted for about 30 seconds. Then he gets really excited and starts flailing about and crashes and just giggles and giggles. Also, he has this new thing where he only eats red fruit loops. If you "hand" him the fruit loops he will take any color but if my mom leaves them on the ottoman and he finds any other color than red, he chunks them across the room. Goofy kid! He takes his cars and runs them all over the ground and furniture while he makes his little car noises. He seems more like a toddler than a baby now. I am so excited for Christmas but dreading it at the same time. You know my cats LOVE to get in my tree and tear bows off of presents but they are NO MATCH for what "Bryson the Destroyer" has lined up for Christmas! :) I can't wait! It is his first Christmas, his first Christmas at home anyway! I plan on hanging his infamous "First Christmas" stocking that Rita had made for him. That stocking means a lot of things to me!
Can't wait!!!!!!!! Oh, and Kory has a gig on Friday and one the next weekend in Lubbock where a record producer is supposed to be and then again December 4th. So cool! And deer season starts this weekend so I won't be seeing much of any of the boys except B. I plan on he and I having some really good time together. We are going to work on his arm. That kid can throw! Seriously! He is going to be quite an athlete!!!! I don't care what he is, as long as he is B!!!!!!!
Love you all and hope all is well!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bulimia and Halloween!

I was so hoping to have these great pictures of my kids in costumes but we have yet another undocumented Halloween. Honestly a lot of the time I just get so caught up in "living" in the moment that I forget to document it. However this time it was just stinking busy!!!! Seriously, the ENTIRE weekend was sooo busy! And, as far as getting a picture of B in a costume, well, that wasn't going to happen because he won't stay in one long enough! Let's recap this crazy weekend that began on Friday at noon. I got off early on Friday because I worked until about ten o'clock on Thursday night. I headed to the coliseum to help set up Kooky Karnival. This is the Riley's schools MAJOR fundraiser every year that brings in TONS of money. Well I was fairly new to this private school thing when we began about 3 or 4 years ago and I dreamt of signing up to help with EVERYTHING and being a HUGE part of all the festivities. Well......you learn pretty quick that, well, let's just say, "it's all covered". The "seasoned veteran parents" of the school know what they are doing, and they don't need you to come along and change things up. I admit, at first that was a real kick in the teeth, however, now I relish in the fact that I have more free time than expected and God knows I need it with three kids so I am good. I spent only an hour setting up at Kooky Karnival and a large portion of that time was spent making fun of the parents that RUN THE SHOW! I'll admit it! I'm not ashamed! What else can you do but laugh. I know the other mothers like me wanted to say it but they were afraid to, so I just took the opportunity and we had a really good time! Then it was off to Seabury Nursing Home so Riley's class could sing for the residents. It was super cute! Bryson did wear some pirate pants and a white onesie and for a while he wore a pirate hat. He actually thought it was really funny but yea, no pictures. Now it is time to pick Kory up, run him to Andrews, wait, no, Midland, run back home, run to Ratliff for the big "rivalry" game. Home after 10! Saturday, up and running again, errands to run, cleaning...and Kory's band played in Andrews that evening and they were awesome! I was very impressed. My mom took Riley and Bryson to Kooky and several church Halloween festivals. They had strict instructions not to come back without cake and although it probably cost $40 they came back with a cake, and it was good. That night Riley was a football player and Bryson was a duck...yea, no pictures. They both had a great time!! Back home, order pizza, bed. Up on Sunday, errands all day, boys needs shoes and pants, home again, clean more, no time to carve the pumpkins we bought, do Riley's "zombie" makeup while Bryson helps, cook dinner, trick or treating........Whew, I am tired! So we load up Bryson in the wagon to go trick or treating in our neighborhood. He was supposed to have been the sock monkey but it was like 100 degrees on Halloween (which SUCKS) so we couldn't make the poor kid melt so instead I put him in some rock star pajamas and made his hair a mohawk....yea, no pictures. However in about 20 minutes Bryson just had what looked like bad bedhead and a chocolate goatee. I think what he wanted to be for Halloween was "bulimic baby". He has decided that it is SO MUCH FUN to chew up the food and then spit it out. He did it the ENTIRE weekend. Good food too! He had Kit Kat dripping from his chin and all over his pajamas and all in the wagon. So he got a free pass to go home with Mark and Kory and instead he helped hand out candy. He loved it! He was in his diaper and every time someone came to the door he made tons of noise and crawled over as fast as he could to help. He "stood" several times this weekend and let go between furniture so we are VERY close to walking but not yet. And, he didn't sleep ONE TIME yesterday (Halloween) but you wouldn't have known it to look at him. He was so happy! He just knew that it was going to be an exciting thing and he didn't want to miss a thing! Such a treasure!
Before I sign off, I wanted to pay my respects to a wonderful man that passed away this weekend. Mr. Lynn Dudney was at first my boss many years ago, then a friend, and then like family! He was the one who encouraged me to write the book and he was the one who footed the bill to have it published. It was a wonderful man and he will forever be missed. Please keep his sweet wife Emma in your prayers. We love you Lynn!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010








Is this not the cutest kid you ever saw???? And rotten....oh, he smells he is so rotten! Seriously rotten!
This is what happens when you let a 13 month old help you carve pumpkins! He kept "tasting" the pumpkin. He does a lot of tasting lately. My mom sets up a "buffet" for him in the morning on our ottoman/coffee table thingy. She puts all sorts of snacks and cereals on it and he just chows down all morning. He has also decided that he likes tv. It sounds terrible, but boy am I glad for that! Come on....let's all be honest! When we need a small reprieve from a screaming child, what better to entertain him than some "Yo Gabba Gabba!" Just so you can tell the huge bridge that I have between my children...with Kory it was Barney and Blue's Clues and Power Rangers....with Riley it was the Wiggles (shoot me!) and now we are doing Yo, Yo Gabba Gabba and it turns out Blue's Clues is still on. And even more sad it turns out that I still remember all the songs! Yes, I am truly pathetic!
As for the hamburger pumpkin in the picture above...well here is the deal with that. Every year at Riley's school there is a pumpkin carving contest. This contest is HARD-CORE! I mean HARD-CORE! I would love to tell you that Riley and I have this meaningful and special time carving the pumpkin and we watch Halloween movies and eat popcorn balls. Here is the cold, hard truth....I start searching on the internet for months before October finding the perfect pumpkin...I do research to find the best options and then I greedily work on the pumpkin all by myself, forbiding Riley to touch it because he might mess it up. My mind is on the grand prize! I WANT to win at least ONE category in this contest before I die! I will! Two years ago I glued approximately seven full bags of candy corn to a carved pumpkin with a hot glue gun. It took me like five hours and an entire bottle of wine to finish it and we got "honorable mention". Honorable my butt! This year, with the hamburger pumpkin we got........NOTHING! In fact, someone else did the same pumpkin! Seriously! Someday, victory will be mine! Until then I guess I will let B help me carve my pumpkins and we will settle for a better year than last! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Try not to forget!

As of late, I am back in the blog-reading frenzy state that I often find myself in. I really do try to stop...I delete the link and then I find myself frantically searching for it again until I find it. I feel like I am abandoning these kids and their families if I quit reading their stories. I find myself excited to be back at work on Monday so I can read about what happened to them over the weekend. This weekend was quite a bummer for many of these families. I don't know how they do it! I know people often said the same of us a year ago, but the truth is...you do what you have to do for your children. You may not do it in a sane manner, or in the manner someone else might have pulled it off, but nevertheless, you keep trudging along, knowing that someday you will look back and say, "man, how did I do that??" I find myself asking myself the same question (yes I talk to myself often!) Somedays I just berate myself because after all that we have been through I get so irritated at Bryson for not sleeping at night. I mean really? Last year at this time I would have given ANYTHING to be up all night with my baby, if it meant being at HOME! I think sometimes we just forget how blessed we are....we forget how hard some people have it while we complain of trivial things. Sometimes I think it is good to have a reminder! So tonight when Bryson is screaming from his crib, I will remember that there is a mother in Dallas, Texas right now at Children's hospital who isn't even allowed to hold her baby, and I will walk to B's room and take his rotten, spoiled hiney in my room so he can play pillow peek-a-boo with his brother instead of sleeping away soundly in his crib. Sleep can wait!!!!
Enough of my soap box, sappy stuff, right?
The kids are so great! And even though this has been such a busy time in our lives, it is starting to wind down and there are some things I will truly miss. Football for Riley is over.....the kids did sooooo good! They got into the playoffs but lost to a team that was not only undefeated, but pretty much mowed over everyone they played. We lost 0-6 so we gave them a run for their money. The kids were so heartbroken and many cried. Riley's eyes were welled up full of tears and it sure tugged at my heart. We sure will miss the games! But so far I have NOT missed practice, at all. The wind was blowing like 60 miles an hour yesterday and I was SO GLAD that we didn't have practice!
Over the weekend I also got the opportunity to hear Kory's band play and they were really good! Kory is the youngest at 15, the others are 16, 17 and 22. They are really great kids! They play their first show this weekend and have been booked to play at a pretty big show here in Odessa in late November, early December. I am so proud of my boys!
Bryson is as silly as ever! I swear he couldn't be any cuter if he tried. He just wants someone to pay attention to him 24/7! Including nighttime!!!! He now runs and trot while holding on to the furniture. He refuses to let go! The pediatrician told me that is not a delay in his physical ability as much as it is just personality. I took him to the doctor yesterday because he had a big bruise and a knot under his chin. I swore I wouldn't be paranoid about the kid and really I have done well but all I could think was that they x-rayed him 7 million times and now he his growing cancer in his chin! I couldn't help it! Needless to say, it was nothing, just somewhere he hurt himself and nothing more. I took the day off to take him to the doctor and I so much enjoyed the time with just him while the other two were at school. He crawled all over me and giggled and played and we just kind of melted into each other. It was so nice! So far his only word is "no no" and he barks. So I guess you could say he is an argumentative dog! He loves animals and cars and sometimes I catch him attacking the cats. Usually he is super sweet and nice to animals but every once and a while he gets that little mischevious look at then you hear the cat yell and run. She doesn't have claws and every now and then when he won't leave her alone she slaps him in the head with her paw. The look on his face is priceless, he seems so shocked and then laughs. Silly, silly kid!
Looking forward to posting Halloween pics! I promise to post more pictures of these sweet, little munchkins!
Hope you all are well!
Love Amy

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Courage does have a number!

Sorry for the lack of updates lately but MAN OH MAN have we been busy. Riley has football basically every single night. He has Wednesdays off and then Sunday is no game and no practice but all the other nights it is 6-8, or when it is too dark to see anymore. I have to say Bryson is not always the best baby when we have practice but that is a long time to sit in your stroller and he gets tired of his toys. Then Kory has his band practice throughout the week and on weekends and football games and in the midst of all of that, we have this little one year old that is into EVERYTHING! He loves to pull up and turn the tv off while we are watching it and he loves to tear up my magazines and take frames out of cabinets. OH MY, I had forgotten how hard it is having a baby! He is so sweet though! He is a perfect mixture of Kory and Riley's personalities. He has Kory's sweetness and he is mischevious like Riley. I laugh because when he is in a good mood he is sooooo sweet. He plays catch and wrestles with you and is just so much fun, but when he is in a bad mood (tired or teeth!) geez, he is awful! He just whines and whines and NOTHING makes him happy! He is giving the whole family a run for their money!
Speaking of money, my sweet friend Jo that I work with reminded me that she wanted to give me some money to start Bryson a savings account. I told her we would work on getting that done. She also reminded me that she tried to give me that same money last year when Bryson was sick. She said, "remember, you told me to keep it, that you might be needing it for a funeral." WOW! I usually just don't think about it much anymore, but I did say that. Pretty powerful! Now I am just buying him Halloween costumes and toys! I like that! He never wore his first Halloween costume because he was still naked tarzan in the hospital. It was a tootsie roll....this year he is going to be a sock monkey. It is soooo cute but I am figuring he will keep the hat on for about 2 seconds...he can't take the tail off though! I will get some great pictures.
Also, when I was at the hospital a few weekends ago nurse April gave me the paperwork to get Bryson his "beads of courage" for his hospital stay. I know I have told you all about it in previous posts but some of the things you get beads for are:
cath lab
PICC insertion and removal
CICU or ICU admission
TPN
dressing change
echo
ambulance ride
sleepover at the hospital (needless to say he will be receiving a TON of these)
isolation
pokes (iv starts/blood draws) Again, tons of these too
x-rays (tons of these, still kind of worried about what kind of damage that may have caused!)
transfusions
ng and chest tube insertions and removals (lots of these)
ventilator support (yea, TONS)
visits from PT or OT
cardiac surgery
and on and on
You even get a bead for a discharge from the hospital!
They also give beads for extraordinary experiences or special accomplishments
Well I put down for two of those beads....one for the first time I held Bryson and one for the day he went up on the 8th floor
Anyway, I have been working very hard to figure up the number of beads he is to get. I checked back with Caring Bridge posts and some from just memory and on and on and the total number of beads he is supposed to receive is.......DRUM ROLL PLEASE.........736!
WOW! Talk about courage! I have to figure out a really creative way to display them in my home so please any ideas are welcome!
Anyway, we are great and we hope you are all great too! I am sooooo loving fall, I am so excited for Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas! So many memories to create! Happy Fall!!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crickets and Poo!





Oh what a weekend! Man oh man alive! It was PACKED full of stuff to do! We drug that poor, sweet baby all over hell and half of Georgia and he was sooooo good! Seriously! He was so good! We invited one of Kory's friends and Bryson spent the better part of the trip down staring at him as he sat in the seat next to him. Once he decided that Kaleb was his friend he politely proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend using Kalek as his slave. He persuaded Kaleb to play the "throw and pick up game" for close to four hours on the way there and on the way home. He talked to him non-stop, tried to touch him with his nasty cheetoh fingers. He made Kaleb feel right at home. I think Riley has figured out that riding in the backseat next to Bryson is not all it is cracked up to be and so he promptly volunteered to ride in the very back seat, behind Bryson. And Kory is just really good at tuning Bryson out.
We had the best time, lots of laughs and a little (alot) of poo but I will get to that story later.
We celebrated Kory's birthday while we were in Dallas as well and so we visited Pappadeux for dinner on Friday night. It was a long wait but the food was good. Bryson has decided that he REALLY likes to eat and so he is trying and taking just about everything we give him (explains the poo, I suppose).
Saturday we got up and went to spend the remainder of our donation money at Babies R Us. Bryson helped us pick things out. If he thought it was good for the kids at Children's he would grunt and yell accordingly. We picked out about four mobiles (those things are EXPENSIVE!) and several other things. I think in all our donations probably equaled around $1,000. I am so proud of everyone who gave for this occassion. It meant so much to us and so much to all those parents as well. They were very gratful to receive the donations, I understand they were running low so it felt good to help restock.
I was so glad to see April as soon as we got there! She asked if I wanted to go back to the unit and I agreed. She said that if I felt like I couldn't do it at any point I could just leave. The funny thing was that I didn't feel upset or scared, to be honest I felt nervous, very nervous, almost to the freaked out stage. I think I was talking very fast and acting nervous too and I didn't mean to but I hope I didn't seem strange to anyone. I guess I just felt out of my element. Someone described it to me as "surreal" and that is probably exactly what it was. It was like I had never been there. It was like all those things had happened to someone else. Very strange but not upsetting at all, which was nice. Any other time I would have craned my neck to see patients in rooms, just out of curiosity and concern, and I never once "saw" once patient. I didn't want to. Not sure why, God knows I read every blog of every sick kid in Texas, but I just didn't want to see it. I thought that I would recognize the smell, the beeping of the machines, the familiarity of it all. The only thing that I really noticed was how quiet it was. It was almost eerily quiet but it always was on Saturdays. We hated weekends because it was so quiet and time went by painfully slow on those weekends. It was quiet! I really enjoyed seeing everyone. I loved seeing all the nurses. April would walk up and kind of gesture towards us and they would look at us like, "I think I know them" and then it would hit them and they would say, "Oh my gosh! Bryson!" I know they probably recognized me more than they did him. They were all so thrilled with him and how chubby he was. He was so tired and seemed so very bored with all of our "oohing" and "aahhing". I am so glad he will NEVER remember! NEVER! We took a picture of him in his first room there. He was looking around like, "what in the world is all this stuff! I could tear this room up quick!" I think in all we bunked in 5 or 6 rooms out of the 18. We were in room eight longer than any room. As we passed room 8 I did see a grandma standing over the "display case" looking at her grandson. I didn't really look at the baby, I didn't really want to. I think I passed by that room pretty quick! Dr. Koch (Josh) came up to see Bryson too and it felt so good to hug him and for him to hold Bryson. Bryson went right to him and let him hold him. It probably helped that he found Josh's pen in his shirt and was eating it. We took pictures with everyone and visited for a little bit. Then they came and found Josh because they needed him for a problem. They came and got April too because someone's heart rate was really high. It just keeps moving, life just keeps moving! I set aside a specific gift for a blog I am reading about a little girl with hypoplastic left heart. I got to meet her parents and give them the gift. I felt rattled and weird. I didn't know what to say to them. It reminded me of all the times that people didn't know what to say to us either. It was strange being on the other end. It felt really good to be able to take those donations and to visit everyone. It was something I needed to heal and I feel like that has happened. It happened so slow at first when we came home, and then one day, I just realized that I hadn't thought about it for days, and then weeks and on and on. Healing takes time, it takes time for the joy to overtake the sadness but it is worth the wait!
April also gave us the paperwork to fill out for Bryson's "Beads of Courage". I think I have that program before. It was just starting when we left and so we got some beads but not many. A child gets a different bead for each thing they "encounter" while they are sick. There are many, many different beads for many different things. It is going to take me a while to fill out the paperwork and I think they are going to have to rent a UHaul to get all his beads here but HOW AWESOME is it going to be for him to see those beads when he gets older. He gets a bead for every blooddraw, for every overnight stay, for every xray, for every day intubated. It is going to be amazing! I am going to figure out some creative way to display the beads so that people can see them when they come in the house and ask what they are. He truly is courageous! And he deserves every, single bead!
Oh, I have to tell you the poo story and one more story as well. Bryson has decided, or shall I say "Bryson's body" has decided that if he smells food, he makes poo....every, single time so restaurant visits are more fun than ever. So we have breakfast at the downstairs lobby of our hotel and here comes the inevitable flared nostril and look of total concentration. Might I add that it is really hard to enjoy your food when you know for a fact that the person sitting next to you is taking a dump. It just tends to take away from the magic of the meal. We had already turned in our key so I decided that I would lay back my driver seat and change him there. I unlocked the car and just sat him in the seat. Within a matter of seconds he was on top of the dashboard. The child is like magic! So I figure I better work fast so I lay down the seat, fetch him and lay him down. He starts the fight. He sits back up and that is when I see it......when I laid him down on my seat I unknowingly forced all the fresh poo out of his diaper, up the back of his pants and all over my seat. I just kept screaming, "Oh no! Oh no!" Kory, Riley and Kaleb literally ran 1/2 a mile away on the other end of the parking lot. They had been inside the car only seconds earlier! My mom was laughing so hard I swear she peed herself! Needless to say for a full 15 seconds I was all on my own. I managed to wipe up as much poo out of my seat as possible but was now holding a dangling baby fully clothed with poo all up his back. I cleaned the poo off his back and pulled his pants off. From there the poo trailed all the way down the back of his legs, onto his feet. My mother finally got control of her laughter and managed to unhook the diaper and it fell, with a loud thud at our feet. I have NEVER seen that much poo! NEVER! It had to have been 10 pounds of poo. I am still holding a dangling Bryson and he is looking at me like I am absolutely crazy! We went through an entire box of wipes and had to go inside and ask for a trash bag to put all the wipes and diaper. We went back in and washed our hands in the hotel bathroom. I have NEVER wanted to bathe in a sink so bad in all my life. Bryson rode home with no pants and my car still smells like crap! So lovely!
And after the State Fair we talked Riley into eating a salted, dried cricket. He started gagging and his tongue came out 10 inches from his body I swear and there on his tongue were all the lovely cricket parts: wings, legs. His eyes watered the rest of the afternoon. THAT ONE made me laugh until I almost peed my pants!
Gotta love it!!!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I don't want breakfast, I have a headache!






First, I will explain the frozen foods picture in a minute!
Secondly, don't turn me in for the naked guitar picture...I just couldn't resist!
I am sorry I haven't posted in a while but we are sooooo stinking busy! It is funny, the other day I was thinking, "Oh my gosh! Our lives are so crazy right now and it is driving me mad....and then I had the flashback, to a year ago today when I as going insane for so many other reasons...I smiled, knowing that this crazy is a great crazy, a fun crazy, a crazy I will someday miss and I smiled knowing that where we are today is so much better than where we were a year ago. I really do try not to think about what we went through, but sometimes I do, it is hard not to. I realized a few days ago that this time last year, Bryson had his chest open with his heart beating right before my eyes. It is so amazing! When I tell people those sorts of things, they look at me in total disbelief and I realize that if I were on the other side of that, I would do the same. I am in total disbelief of THIS CHILD! I promise you EVERY SINGLE DAY I stare at him in amazement of who is now. I do! I remember writing over a year ago about how I felt like I was in a nightmare that wasn't my own and I wished someone would pinch me so I could come back to reality. Now, I feel like I am dreaming but I pray every day that I never get that pinch. I enjoy that baby so much. I swear, I wouldn't care if he stayed just like he is right now forever! I hate to say I don't think I did that with my other children but he is soooo much fun! He is the BIGGEST clown! I don't know if it is because he is the baby and so rotten or just him but he has the BIGGEST personality ever! He is so smart and funny and I love watching the other kids interact with him. They love him so much! He is the blessing in my family that I never knew I needed! I cry as I type that because it just rocks me to my core, it truly does! Let me tell you about the things this kid does....and then I have to tell you about my other children (they are so neglected!:)) and then I have a really funny story to share so get comfortable people, I am not nearly done!
Bryson LOVES to play catch, with anything...balls...toys....socks....food! You name it he is throwing it but it is how he throws it that is so funny. He has a HECK of an arm and while I do think he is going to be left handed (thanks to my Mom and Mark, brainwashers!)he throws with both hands and I am not kidding, the kid throws far but about half of the time he just throws it straight up in the air and when it lands he just laughs and laughs. But when he throws he really concentrates and when he is done he looks at you with complete seriousness as if he is saying, "yea, I did that, what do you think about that?" and then it hits the ground and the laughter starts. He also likes to do monkey see, monkey do...anything we do he tries to copy. I picked up his "nightime" blanket and a bottle the other night and he said, "no, no!" I swear yesterday he shook his head at me! He has a "cage", it is a makeshift contraption all over the living room that kind of keeps him penned in to a large area. Well if the gate comes open, he is gone and he usually turns and shuts the door as if we won't catch him if he leaves no evidence and then he is down the hall and he is cracking up the entire time! I swear I have never seen a child crawl so fast in my life! He is really getting close to walking. He is cruising and even letting go and going in between things. It won't be long and then OH MY! I swear it truly takes a village to raise this one but it sure is fun!
Riley is still kicking butt and taking names in football. He LOVES it! He also LOVES school and he is doing so well. He has a few learning disabilities and we have really struggled with him in the past, but now, he doesn't need help on his homework or anything and his grades are great! I am so proud!
Kory is doing so great right now too. He, as always, has great grades but Pre-AP geometry is kicking his butt. He is such a good kid and so responsible. He is now in a band. He is the youngest, playing guitar of course and the others range in age from 22-16. I have met and gotten to know them all and they are great and they are so happy to have found him. He is really a good guitar player and he is so happy. He told me that this is the best thing that has ever happened to him. It just makes me feel so good to have such happy kids. I think that is all a mother needs to make her life complete, just happy kids. I feel so good where we are right now and I think I just enjoy it more because of where we have been. I NEVER thought that something like Bryson's illness could change my life so very dramatically, and in such a good way. Out of tragedy, comes such joy! I don't wish tragedy on anyone but I do wish that everyone could experience life like I do now. Talk about not sweating the small stuff, it justs feel so great!
Ok, so I had the crappiest day yesterday and I went to Target (nothing works like retail therapy for me!) and I passed the frozen foods section with the breakfast stuff and I see the condoms in the freezer. I laughed so hard and when I was checking out I told the lady and she was shocked and said, "really?" I said, "yes, I guess the sun isn't the only thing rising in the morning!" She laughed so hard and then she told a fellow employee to go remove the box and we look down there and several Target employees are over at the freezer section cracking up and taking pictures. It was too funny! Made me feel better about my day!
We are headed to Dallas this weekend! I am so very excited! I can't wait to give all of our things and mostly I can't wait to see the nurses! (April, if you are reading this be on the lookout for us!!!!) I just can't wait for them to see how different he is. Such a miracle! I will post lots of pics of all the donations and of Bryson with his "family". It is kind of weird, I am reading a blog right now of a little girl at Children's with heart problems and I can see her in my mind wearing the bows, or socks we bring, or watching a mobile we have provided floating over her head! Giving feels so very good! I hope we can do it every year!!!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh what fun we will have!






















As you can see the party took place! Indeed it did! After months and months of planning, we pulled it off! I am sorry I wasn't able to post a picture of everyone there. We had SUCH a good turnout! How many one year old's have a four hour party with over 100 guests. I am "guesstimating" of course but we had a really big turnout and it was just great. Thank you so much for all those who came, some from a long, long way. Thanks for all those who helped me in any way with the party. Thanks to those who couldn't come but sent birthday wishes. It was such an awesome day! I was so stressed and busy that it didn't "hit" me until we sang Happy Birthday to him. That is when the tears welled up. I had envisioned singing Happy Birthday to him so many times but it was far sweeter than I had even imagined! He is so funny! He is so very oblivious to his true power, of how much a miracle he is. I can't BELIEVE the lives this kid has touched! I just can't get over it! And he just smiles and goes on about his business! And busy he is! He was so sweet at the party and just let everyone hold him. We passed the kid around like a joint! Hee, hee! When it was time for cake he wasn't sure what to do. He stuck a hand in it and then Riley decided to help him. He took Bryson's entire hand and laid it out flat on the cake, giving him an entire handful of icing that he then proceeded to throw. I call him "The Destroyer" for a reason. I don't know that he ever tasted that cake, he only destroyed it! He even attempted to push the remainder of his cake off of the tray so that it would all be gone. May I just remind you that he does that AT EVERY MEAL! I spend approximately 20 minutes each night cleaning up the remainder of food that he has thrown off of his high chair. He started off the party with a Rock Star shirt and jeans and camp shoes. He ended the party with no pants, just a diaper, an old pajama t-shirt and camo shoes. So cute!
He barely napped all day and I thought he would be gripey but he wasn't and I was SURE he would pass out as soon as we got in the car (I know I wanted to!) but instead he chewed on his shoe all the way home. It probably had cake on it! :)
Once we were home he continued to not sleep until probably 10:30pm. I know he was tired but HECK, you wouldn't have known it then or the next day. I think I was WAY more tired!
Anyway, it was the most amazing birthday ever and I am so very grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life to share Bryson with. I am one blessed girl!!!!
We got so very many donations for Children's, more than I could have imagined. So many! I also got a ton of money to spend on more donations.
I called today and spoke to them to find out how we were going to disperse the donations. I have to say that in my little, dream world we would drag B up and down the halls handing out gifts like it was Christmas but realistically I knew that was not the way it worked. And honestly, I think if I had to step foot back in that ICU floor I would be physically ill, I truly would. I think God intended for it to be this way to spare me any more heartache so instead, it will go like this. We will spend the remainder of the money to buy more things. One thing I really want to buy is mobiles. As you all remember Bryson's mobile was so very important in his healing. As silly as that sounds, it truly was. I swear, he still recognizes it! And many babies did not have mobiles. Just think, all they do all day is lay on their backs and look at machines and monitors, so mobiles are going to be brought forth, many mobiles! So we will bring all the goodies to the circular drive at Children's and they will meet us and unload them and then they will make notes and such. One thing they are going to ask is if we want these things to go to other floors of Children's or just "our" floor. I have thought about this a lot and I want the things to be on "our" floor. Not to be stingy but it is just something I feel right about. I want to picture those soft, silky blankets being laid down underneath a child who just had their heart fixed. I want the fluffy, stuffed animals to be used to hold up a ventilator for a child who is slowly healing. That floor means a lot to me. Which brings me to my next point......Today after talking to Children's and being saddened by the fact that we can't hand the things out and realizing that we can bring Bryson to the lobby floor but not in the unit and realizing that I won't ever step in that unit again.....I realized something...it is time for me to let go...to let go of bad memories...of open chests and tubes and deaths...it is time for me to move on and to feel joy...and only joy. Not joy tinted with fear, or joy tinted with distant memories that make me shudder...but TRUE, REAL JOY! I really feared that starting September 17th on it would be bad..that I would think, "today is the day that they did this...today is the day they did this." but it hasn't been like that. One day, out of nowhere, it just stopped, not fully, but nearly and it has felt so good and so freeing. So I am going to go down there and share the wonderful gifts given by all of you and share my wonderful gift of a sweet, blonde, curly haired little munchkin and that is it. Then I am going to come back and I am going to spend Halloween with him (he is going to be a sock monkey!) and Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and another birthday (way more low key than this one I might add) and on and on and on and I hope to be able to share that all with you as well! Oh what fun we will have! I love you all and we would NEVER be here without all of you! NEVER!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Toilet bowls woes!

Well it is official! Bryson is just a normal one year old boy! Sounds weird, right? On many levels, I mean who wants to say their child is just "normal"? Well, he is extraordinary! We all know that but at the same time, he is NORMAL. We went for his one year old appointment yesterday and he weighs 20 lbs. I know, that is it! I was so surprised. He feel like he weighs 75 pounds! And he looks so very chunky, but he is short too so that explains that. I know the cardiologist wants him to weigh more but the doctor said that his weight is perfect. He is in the 25th percentile for weight. I can't remember his height percentile, low I am sure and he is in the 95th percentile for head circumference! Big headed kid! Hee, hee! When we go to the two year appointment I will get the "talk" about how their heads are bigger than their bodies and they can fall head first into the toilet and drown because their heads are so big and heavy. You laugh, but she really tells me that. I had nightmares of their little legs sprouting out of the toilet, while they kick and sputter toilet water! Seriously?!?!?!?! Anyway, he is great! She said she is sooooo happy about him in every way. He is all caught up and on NO MEDICINES AT ALL! Crazy!!! This is the same kid who had a bad heart, bad kidneys, on 15 different meds, a feeding tube, physically behind by 5 months and they thought was also neurologically damaged! And might I just add that he is as smart as a whip!!! Got it from his mom! :)
He got five shots yesterday and he screamed when he got them but quieted down right after and then we walked in the hallway and there is a little porcelain baby on a shelf. Bryson LOVES babies, their faces especially and he got so excited and then he got right in front the baby and he just cried and moaned to the baby as if he was telling him all about the terrible shots. It was hilarious! Bryson did have a rough time the rest of the day. The shots gave him a pretty good fever and he felt pretty bad but today he is better. He better be, he has a kickin' party to attend!
I am so excited!
I will post TONS of pictures!
Riley is doing great, he is LOVING football and he is so aggressive. I am shocked! It sounds terrible but I love the sound of his helmet smashing into the other kid's helmets. I know, I am turning into one of this sick, Texas football moms. Guilty!
Kory is so sweet too because we went on and on about Riley at football and instead of being jealous he was just so excited for Riley and complimenting him over and over. He just has the kindest heart of anyone I know! You wouldn't know it with his "tough guy" exterior, but he is a sweet teddy bear kid!
I am so proud of my boys!

Friday, September 17, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRYSON!!!!




Today is the day! It is Bryson's Birthday! I can't believe it! It kind of stinks because I haven't been able to tell him happy birthday because he was asleep when I left this morning but he woke up at 12:15am (because of a passing storm) and I whispered "Happy Birthday" to him.
Here are some Bryson facts, written by the big man himself!

I was born on September 17, 2009

I was actually due on October 13, 2009

I weighed in at 7 lbs, 11oz

I spent my first 141 days in Dallas Children's Hospital, 131 of those days were spent in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

My momma held me for the first time when I was over 2 months old.

I had my open heart surgery on September 30th, it took about 5 hours.

I have 12 scars, one which measures 5-6 inches. My scar will not grow as I grow so it will only get smaller as I get bigger.

My sternum was wired shut and so when I get chest x-rays I have two small figure 8's in my chest.

My medical bills were over 7 million dollars...and I am worth EVERY PENNY!

I had thousands (literally thousands) of people praying for me!

I am ticklish under my chin.

I have three teeth, two on bottom and a fang on top! FANGTASTIC!

I like beards, they fascinate me, especially my Dad's.

NO ONE is funnier than my two brothers, NO ONE!

I have my own personal nanny who spoils me rotten everyday!

I love my toys, ALL of them!

I love my bottle, even though I was tube fed for the first 10 months of my life.

I am NOT afraid of the vacuum cleaner but I am VERY afraid of the carwash.

I love my family very, very much and they love me too.

But ABOVE ALL, I am a TRUE BLESSING FROM GOD!!!!