photo taken by Angela Speiker

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

First food for the Z man

Happy as can be, and not sure what is about to happen

He opened his mouth well for the first bite, now trying to decide if he likes is

What the big kids refer to as "the fish lips" not so excited about his food

We had lots of "help" in doing this

Zach started eating cereal this week. We had planned a little sooner, but with the rash, the surgery, MRI, and the little ER visit, we had to postpone it. He opened his mouth well, really ready to try some food. Then he wasn't so sure. I really don't remember having so much "help" with the other 2 and their first time. It was a little distracting, but then again he is used to it, right? Night #2 went a little better, and he even finished the (small) bowl full. We will see how night #3 goes tonight. Our little guy is growing up, and the big kids are loving it!! (me, not so much)
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Circus fun--the end

The big yellow tire-like things looked like a lot of fun as the people bounced their way all around

The most amazing part, Calvin fell asleep during the noise and chaos. He must have been pretty tired!

Emerald's favorite part, the horses.
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More circus fun

I am simply amazed they can get these enormous animals to do such amazing tricks.

The tigers were impressive. I wouldn't want to be in there.

These were really cool long poles that attached and the people swung on them and jumped off. Pretty impressive.

It was a fun trip!
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More circus fun

Noah had a nice ride to see everything

Wishing I was limber enough to do that

I'm always amazed at the motorcycle cage. They got 7 motorcycles spinning around inside that cage!!
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A trip to the circus!

Emerald and Jessie running into each other's arms, too sweet for words.

Zachary is always such a trooper through all the chaos

They got the opportunity to play "dress up" with some of the clothes. Calvin's jacket was huge!

We went to the circus last weekend with some of our dearest friends, Brian and Rene, and their children, Jessie and Noah. Before the show started, we were able to go down on the floor and see some of the performers up close, try on some of the clothes, and be in the middle of the fun. I don't know if Emerald and Calvin were more excited to be at the circus or to be visiting with Jessie and Noah. Zachary was his usual calm self throughout the show, drifting off to sleep at times. More pictures to follow, too many more :) The show was the Ringling Bros. at the Sprint Center in downtown KC.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another ER visit

A boy and his dog

So comfy near my puppy-girl

Notice the blinks. Every time he is near Laney and she barks or comes near him, Zach gets his eyes blinking so fast.

But, just like the other 2, he is in love with the puppy! He couldn't be happier playing with the dog.

These pictures don't exactly fit the blog I'm writing about, but I had to post them--they are too sweet. Zach was just chillin' with the dog the other day, really checking her out. I don't know which of our kiddos loves Laney most!! We feel pretty blessed that she is such a great dog with the kids, too! Always so patient with them, and very cautious. She also respects their toys and leaves them alone, even though they are usually strung across the house. What a sweet doggie!!

Ok, now on the the ER post. Zachary had his post-surgery follow-up visit with the urologist on Friday. At that appointment, they "sounded" his urethra, which meant inserting a metal rod inside. Yes, ouch! In fact, they used 2 different sized rods, one slightly larger than the other. Because they had to reconstruct his urethra, they needed to make sure the opening was still healing as it should, it wasn't re-routing to its old position, and the scar tissue wasn't getting in the way of urination (or building up internally). It was pretty quick, and slightly painful, but he was over it in a matter of seconds really. That night he was fine. Then, during the night, he woke up every 45 minutes to an hour crying in a very painful cry. I assumed it was gas, or maybe even some teething issues as he has been pretty droolly lately. He had a poopy diaper at 4 and I changed it in the dark, but he screamed thru it all. In the morning, we realized why all the screaming. His little "peanut" (a term the other 2 have been using) had nearly tripled in size!! He was also running a slight fever and seemed so uncomfortable. We did what we could for him, and I called the urologist office (of course, it was a Saturday). They paged the nurse, who promptly returned my call. She wasn't sure that sounded right, so she had the on-call urologist call me (not our doc). He listened to the story and told me what it could have been, possible a tear in the internal skin covering his urethra causing the urine to go into the surrounding tissue. Of course, he said it was hard to diagnose over the phone (understandably), and that he suggested we go in to the ER, downtown. He called ahead for us and told them we were coming (a huge bonus for us!!). We visited the Children's Mercy ER downtown, not the closer one, South, because there was an on-call urologist resident there. The triage nurse agreed that it did NOT look good. Then the resident gets in there, and boy was he totally GREEN!! He asked us if that looked different than normal. I laughed and said, yes, it was definitely bigger. He felt around and thankfully said his bladder was soft, which is a good sign b/c he was retaining those fluids (one of the biggest issues I was worried about, possible kidney problems due to this). He wasn't sure what to do, so told us he was going to call Dr. Murphy (our urologist). He came back in and told us Dr. M said to just just soak it 4 X a day in warm water and gave us an antibiotic just in case an infection developed. He asked us if that was ok--like I said, green!! Although they didn't do much for us, we were happy we went, in case they had to put in a catheter or do anything else.

It is much better with each passing day. Dr. Murphy did personally call me on Monday to check on him. He wants to see us in a couple of weeks to confirm that all is doing well with little Z man. Our poor little baby just can't catch a break! To think, he is a healthy baby. I can't imagine doing this more with an unhealthy baby!! We aren't supposed to go back to the doctor until Oct. 1 for his 9 month check. Hmmmmmmm............wonder if we can wait that long! We sure have been to the doctor a LOT in the last month. A little prayer: Thank you God for providing us good insurance. That is one thing we aren't stressing about with all the chaos! Thank you, thank you!!!

So, we have had 2 ER visits in the last 3 months. 2 out of 3 kids have gone. If I'd had to guess, I really would have thought Calvin would have been the one. Let's just be thankful he hasn't had to go yet.Posted by Picasa

Update: 1 hour later, another doctor visit scheduled! Well, sort of.....Our PT lady is coming out to re-evaluate Zachary for services thru Infant/Toddler. He has fallen on the fence (in questionable range) 2 out of 2 times now. She wants to see him for herself, b/c she was on maternity leave last evaluation. So, we shall see how that goes on Monday. At least it is here at the house. It doesn't stay quiet around here for long :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


He looks so sweet and innocent here

This is the "smile" pose I get these days

Always my happy baby

My 3 kids are so adorable!! I just love them all. It is so funny how you can be so in love with an individual person, and completely love someone else, but in a slightly different way.

Emerald started dance class last week, but it didn't pan out that well. Her dance teacher was a no-show. The head guy came in and profusely apologized. There were a lot of sad little girls. One of the moms ran and got some music and did an impromptu dance lesson, which really wasn't that bad. She ended up having fun. She is so in love with school. I am really impressed with how much her skills are developing. She is able to write more of her name, is beginning to work super hard at coloring in the lines, and is really starting to recognize blends w/in words to help her sound out more words. I'd definitely say she's on the right path to reading. She sat in a chair and "read" the entire book to Calvin, and he actually sat there for the whole thing. It was too sweet.

Calvin is growing up right before out eyes. He is getting superb at putting puzzles together, loves playing with his cars, and has an imagination out of this world. He is going to be our little class clown, coming up with funny jokes all the time. We are going to have to work on that stubborn streak in him, or it might send me to early retirement (is that possible?). He has recently moved from the highchair to sitting like a big boy at the table with Emerald. Pretty impressive as messy as he usually is.

Zachary's rash is much, much better. He randomly holds the bottle by himself, but won't hold it for too long. He is all over the place now with his roly-poly self. We are working hard with the other 2 to keep books and small toys up and off the floor. We are still working with him on trying to get him to sit up and constantly hold his head up. Perhaps we will begin cereal this weekend, if something else doesn't come up. I failed to mention that he weighed in at 15 lb this last visit (with clothes on).

We went to the NICU reunion this last weekend. It was so wonderful to see so many cute babies. They are all getting so big. I keep up with several families thru blogs and Facebook, but to actually see them in person was wonderful. Em and Cal had fun with the bounce houses, bird show (including owls, parrots, hawks, etc.), and cake and ice cream. Skip was patient as I visited with so many people. I loved that OPR did that for us NICU families!! What a wonderful hospital!

Also went to lunch with a very adorably pregnant friend, Jenny (Zach's godmother) Friday. Can't wait to meet that new baby in a couple of months. She is 31 weeks, and it is weird to think that is where I was when I had Zach. I didn't want to tell her that, but she asked anyway. I told her she'd be fine and little one would wait until after Halloween!!

Our town has their fall festival this weekend, which should be fun. We are also planning on a trip to the circus with the Hart family, which should be super big fun!! Getting the fall decorations out to decorate the house for one of my favorite seasons, starting to feel the weather changing and the days grow shorter. We cleaned out the garage this weekend (still a work in progress) and sad to admit actually broke the tape on several boxes we packed in Texas 2 years ago!! Wow, amazing what you can find when you finally unpack. We have made quite the "garage sale/craigslist" pile. When you don't use something for 2 years, why hold on to it any longer??
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

A little rash

My poor little guy isn't done with his chaos. He has developed this nasty rash over his entire body, including in his ears and on his eyelids. The pictures just don't do it justice. I have talked with my faithful nurse companion, thanks Steph, but still felt nervous as it looked worse this morning when we woke up. With an upcoming NICU reunion this weekend, I hated to expose him to all those other kiddos if he had anything. We went into the doc this morning and he told us that is was probably an allergic reaction. This is the reason that we hadn't started solids yet, just in case. This will delay our starting cereal for at least another week or two. The doc said that this rash may continue to last another 5 days and he might start peeling once they go away. My poor little guy! This rash, coupled with the fact that he has been a lot fussier than normal (totally unusual for Zachary), a low-grade fever for a few days, and hasn't been eating normally, really worried me. But, all is well.

Today I can officially say that Zachary has discovered that he can move. He is a rolling machine!! He is on one side of the room, then the other w/in minutes. He is even working to get toys out of his reach, not quite crawling of course, but working hard. He is all over the place and the older kids love it! Mom, well, not so much loving the fact that my stationary baby is no more. I'm really going to worry about little toys, books, etc. It is funny how the light bulb just clicked today. All this while he is covered in a nasty rash! Let the "no's" begin as he reaches to eat books, pull on cords, roll into the tile (as we speak), etc.

Emerald starts dance class tonight. She is taking the class with a neighbor, Aubrey. She is super excited. She is loving school and can't get enough of it. Calvin, however, is ready to go with her each day. He is so full of the word "why" and "what'd you say" lately that I might scream if he asks why one more time :) Emerald never went through that why stage, this is new to me. Fun, fun!! Wouldn't trade it, though!
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Calvinese & Emeraldish--our own language

We dressed up for a free Chick-fil-A sandwich yesterday

Calvin giving Zach kisses

Since they have been able to communicate, each of our children have had their own way of saying certain things. Just like any child, they create their own language. Some of these things are so cute, I decided I needed to write it down so I would remember them in the future. It will be hard to correctly spell some of these things, as they are quite unique. I'm sure I can add to the list over the next couple of years, too! So, I list.........

Gibberish, by Emerald and Calvin Pankewich
  • Psssssst (said with fingers usually)=I love you
  • Mango=Mango, Emerald's stuffed monkey, the love of her life and best friend
  • BoBo=BoBo, Calvin's stuffed monkey, the love of his life and best friend
  • hangibur=hamburger
  • lie many pony=My Little Pony
  • flingamango=flamingo
  • mushrooms=marshmallows
  • Gee=Calvin's name for Emerald, his big sister, usually said with love, sometimes not
  • the dark place=the parking garage at Garmin
  • Garmin=anything tall or big, b/c the Garmin building is large
  • Ma (like Ma & Pa)-ddy=Emerald's name for Daddy
  • Mommy-o and daddy-o=don't know why but they have to say it with the o at the end
  • watermelon=lemonade
  • "You're a chocolate _______(fill in the blank)=from a moose song that we like, Chocolate Moose On the Loose
  • statues=tatooes (usually the fake ones that kids love so much)
  • Tytoon=Tyrone, a character from Backyardigans and little toy Calvin carries around
  • huh=Calvin's form of the word Yes, from Uh-huh, meaning yes
  • basagna=lasagna
  • bessert=dessert
  • airplane port=airport
  • sza-sza=Emerald's way of saying sorry when she was little. One time she was in a nursery and crying so I pulled her out (she was maybe 15 months old) and she told me sza-sza, as in sorry for crying mommy. It made me cry at the time.
  • Little Bear=Emerald's name for Calvin when we brought him home
  • Lobster=Zachary's name before he was born and nickname often since
  • little bookie wookie (in various forms)=the kids love to baby-talk Zach and call him every name in the book
  • dah=dog, a first word for Emers and one of the first for Calvin as well
  • poon=spoon (you will notice a list as Calvin has trouble with beginning s words)
  • pank=spank, something they see all too often
  • nake=snake
  • top=stop
  • tookie=cookie

I am sure there are many, many more words I am forgetting. However, as Skip and I were working on this list it was quite humorous reflecting on these cute words/phrases of the kids. Like I said, I am sure these are things we might forget in the future and I wanted to capture it now. We love our little munchkins and are amazed at how fast they grow up.Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I know I look as old as I feel.....

Having fun with hats

Now that's a look of admiration for my big sis

A stick bug that took up residence on our screen door for the day. It really entertained the kids all day long.

Story time with daddy

This post is going to be kind of random. We are DONE with our doc visits for at least 2 whole weeks (when we go back to the urologist, and then 9 month well-check another week later, but all-in-all, good things)!!!!!! Needless to say, pretty thrilled about that. Zach has been kind of fussy the last few nights. We were pulling up the doc office for shots on Friday, and the doc office is right next door to the hospital. Emerald asked me, "Mommy, is Zach going back to live in the hospital again?" I stopped to think about it, and in her eyes, it probably is deja vu. We have been to the hospital 5 times in a matter of 13 days, and to the docs office 2 more times in 17 days. In the midst of all of it, they have been shifted from person to person, again. Zachary has been a little needier lately, and that has been hard on Emerald and Calvin. He has been recovering from a lot of things and really does need a little extra TLC. Hopefully things will calm down now.

Last night Heidi and I went on a short shopping trip, shocking as it may sound! ~~Side note: found some fantastic deals at Carters and Children's Place and the kids are set, even into next summer. Love it when you can buy cute, new clothes for less than $2 each!~~ I placed my cell phone and wallet in her purse and forgot them there as she drove away with them. I didn't think it'd be too big a deal. Today my dad came to visit. As we were out running some errands he and I stopped at Joe's Crab Shack for some late afternoon drinks. I thought it was a great idea--it's been a really long couple of weeks and I thought a real, grown-up drink (minus kids) sounded like a fantastic idea. I order a drink and the lady asked me for my ID. I haven't been carded in forever. I tell her I don't have my ID on me, and she said she had to check anyone looking under age 30. I laugh, tell her I am 33, have 3 kids, and am there with my dad. She checks with her manager, and denies me my drink!!!!!!! She says they can't do it if I don't have my ID. You are telling me that I don't look like I'm over 21?????? Are you kidding me????????!!!!!!!!!! I am feeling like a 40 year old lately, wait, maybe 50 these days, with little sleep and no energy after chasing the kids around and tending to Zach's needs (remember, been a little needier), plus getting their schedules straight with all the chaos. Really, I don't look over 21?????????? While part of me should potentially feel flattered that she thinks I am at least looking under age 30, and can't get a drink b/c I may not be over 21, I am not feeling flattered. I wanted that drink, I felt that I deserved that drink. Do you know how often I am out, w/o kids, not driving, after hell 2 weeks, and actually want a drink??? I guess the bartender just wasn't feeling my neediness. Oh well, I'm sure she was just looking at me as old, anyway.

Here's wishing Simon a VERY happy 1st birthday tomorrow. We love you and wish we could spend the day with you sweet little man. Have fun diving into that cake and tell mom and dad to take lots of pictures.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thanksgiving prayer

Zachary is fine!! We went to the neurosurgeon today. All is well with our little guy! The doc scared me to death as he walked in the room and announced, "this is my neurological team" as the troops filled the room. Ok, there was only 3 of them, but the term "team" scared me, and that many people can really fill one of those tiny doctor's office rooms. I was so worried that he was going to tell me that our little boy had something really, really wrong with him. He told us that the MRI came out looking fine. They said there was no fatty tissues at the base of the spine, indicating a tethered cord. They also worry if the sacral dimple is higher than where Zach's is located. However, Zachary's spinal cord does extend down further than the "average" (finding that an average person/situation is harder and harder to find these days) person's cord. Most end at L2, where his goes down to L3. He explained that it is hard to understand why, just like it's hard to explain why some people have larger feet. Just the way God makes us I guess! He did tell us that we'd continue to watch Z-man (with Dr. Mike) and make sure the weak core (neck, back, muscles) continued on the right path or we may have to investigate further. But, for now, no future surgeries, procedures, or even follow-ups with the neurosurgeon!!!!!!!!!! I am so very thankful that my little guy is ok. I was envisioning them telling us we'd have to have surgery and there could be a chance of paralysis or something crazy like that.
It is such a relief to know that, after 5 visits to Children's Mercy in a 2 week stretch, we are done for now!!! I guess we do have to have a re-check with the urologist for Zach's post-surgery in 2 weeks, but honestly, now we can JUST have normal doc visits!! In fact, we have shots day after tomorrow. 6 month shots, a couple of months late, but better late than never, right?!

Thanks for all the prayers and continued support you have shared with us as we survive this journey we call life!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I am anxious........worried...........nervous..........scared!!!!! How do I look at that adorable face, in those precious eyes, and wonder if something can be wrong?????

We had our MRI yesterday. It was AWFUL!!! It took 3 nurses to get his IV in. 3 nurses!! The first nurse poked him in the arm, twice (and we aren't saying one tiny poke either, we are talking about digging for the vein), the other arm, the foot. Then the second nurse poked him in the arm, the hand, the other foot. Then they called in "the expert" nurse who poked him in arm, the foot the hand, and back to the arm. Finally! she got it in. We are talking about 25 minutes of holding him down, screaming, tears from him (and me) and poking on my little angel!! This is a baby who nearly NEVER cries, so for me it is almost harder to see him crying. His face was all blotchy, and the sobs, oh the sad little sobs shaking his entire body. After the nurses let him "free" and stopped poking on him, he acted in normal Zach fashion--through the sobs that still shook his body, the red marks surrounding his little eyes, he looked right at me and smiled one of his beautiful Zachary smiles. What a sweet little boy!! I noticed after his surgery last week that he had multiple pricks. We are talking each ankle, each arm, and 2 on his hand. So maybe they had trouble then, too?? They didn't mention it to us?? So his poor bruised arms and legs from last week just got poked on again. Yuck, yuck, yuck!!

They took him back, me saying goodbye and going to the waiting room and then bawling after having witnessed this abuse (I use the term loosely) to my baby. They gave him 2 powerful sleepy meds, not full anesthesia. ~~Side note: the anesthesiologist came to see us and she instantly looked at me and asked what we were doing back there. She had just seen us twice last week, and she said, "oh, that's the baby with those beautiful eyelashes." My boy has a reputation with the ladies already :)~~ He had a nasal cannula in this time, instead of being on the vent like last week. We are so familiar with all of this! They monitored his vitals the entire time during the MRI and said he did wake up at around 30 minutes, but just stirred and went back to sleep. After about 45 minutes they came and got me. He was still asleep but I got to wait with him. They tried to wake him up but he did not want to! Let's consider was his normal nap time for any other day, plus he woke up at 5:45 that morning for good with another wake up at 4:45 to eat, he screamed for 25 minutes just 45 minutes ago which would wear out any baby, AND he had powerful sedatives in him. You question why he doesn't want to wake up??? Let the boy sleep!!! He went w/o formula from 11:30 PM until 2:30 PM with about 5 oz of Pedialite in him during that time. He finally did wake up and was asleep again before we got to the car. ~~Another side note: the hospital was full of "suits". I watched the news that night, as I'd seen no less than 20 TV cameramen there in the hospital and Senator John McCain was in the room just next door to where we had been all morning. Interesting!~~

So, we are going tomorrow to the neurosurgeon. Who has to go to the neurosurgeon?? That is why I'm worried. I am really stressing that they are going to find something seriously wrong with our little guy. Spinal issues are not a minor deal. His Hypospadius, I can handle. Spinal issues, not so sure I can handle that!! If they do find a tethered cord, surgery is probably in our near future I'd assume. I really don't know what all they can find wrong. Part of me won't allow myself to go there, to think of all the possible negative outcomes. I guess I also worry because he has had problems with a weak neck, weak core, doesn't sit up very well, won't really stand for us that well, the prematurity, the "tag" they saw in the ultrasound to warrant the MRI. I have reason to worry! I just don't want to see any of my children have any kind of problems. I want them all to remain healthy little squirts, running and playing and giggling!! Isn't that how it's supposed to be??!! You can comment, repeating the words Skip says over and over to me, the words I already know--It's going to be fine, Don't worry, If there is a problem they can work to correct it, Just don't stress. I don't know that any of those words will help when I sit here and think that the doc tomorrow could tell me some bad news. I just want it all to be OK!!

I have appreciated all the prayers and ask again for prayers for our little man.

I will post the docs results as soon as I am able to do so. Please, please God, help protect my baby and make him ok. Don't let that doctor give us bad news, not for our sweet, innocent little man who has already had to fight for his life in the beginning, who has already been poked, proded, gone through surgery, and still smiles at us every time we look at him. He is so precious to us!Posted by Picasa