photo taken by Angela Speiker

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My lil' Leprechauns

I had this silly hat when I was teaching. My students used to like when I wore it as I taught them about St. Patrick. Now my kids were having fun with it on St. Patty's day.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Gotcha Day Calvin

Moments after he was placed in our arms at Gladney. He seemed pretty happy!

A few days later, Easter morning, with his big sis.

Those dark eyes and long hair. We were ready to give him a haircut the day he came home :)

At a shower held in his honor.

Happy Gotcha Day Calvin! We love you so much. 3 years ago they placed you in our arms and you completed our family of 4. Mommy was scared to have a boy, I didn't know what it would be like. I am so lucky that I've gotten the chance to be a boy mommy. You are such a cuddler when we read stories. You can be so sweet to your brother and sister. You are the middle child and sometimes get pressed to be more grown up, but told you are too young for other things. We love you more than you will ever know. I am thankful that Letecia made such a sacrifice and helped to bring you into this world. She is your birthmother and we have total respect for her. I am so happy that 3 years ago today we drove to Gladney as a family of 3 and came home as a family of 4!! You are our beautiful baby boy, sweet, sweet Calvinator!
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Gotcha Day Emerald

5 years ago they placed this bundle in our arms. She was so stinkin' cute. It was a Thursday. This picture was taken a few days later, Sunday morning, Easter morning. We had to bundle her a little, it was freezing cold. 5 years ago she entered our forever family. We love you Miss Emerald.......with all of our heart. You answered our prayers. Happy Gotcha Day my sweet baby girl.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some cute pics of Zachary

He can change his attitude so fast. This is what he looks like if I walk away, or if you tell him no.
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March of Dimes info on Surfactant

The March of Dimes is a very important organization in my life. The March for Babies walk is May 1st, and I will be working hard to raise money for this wonderful cause. Our goal is to raise $650, which is $10 for every doctor visit Zachary had the first year out of the NICU. You can donate by clicking on the purple "button" on this blog. Even $5 helps!!

I stole this from another blog. Jenn is a fabulous woman who was a nurse for Zachary, but also had her own son early and he was Zachary's neighbor for a week while in the NICU. Thanks, Jenn.

This week's topic: Pulmonary Surfactant, or as we say in the NICU "Surf" (seriously, the NICU has it's own language!).

Surfactant is something we give premature babies to help their lungs be more "compliant." It is a white, soapy substance and we actually put it down a tube, directly into their lungs. Premature babies born before 28-32 weeks are generally born without sufficient surfactant in their lungs. Everyone needs surfactant in their lungs to decrease the surface tension of the aveoli sacs so they can stay open and exchange gases. Surfactant saves the lives of these premature babies by helping their lungs work.

It is amazing how well this stuff works. I have seen babies requiring like 60% oxygen, and then we surf them and we are able to wean the oxygen down to 21%, which is what you and I are breathing right now. Sometimes after we give them surfactant, we are able to take them off the ventilator completely.

Most babies require two doses of surfactant. The first dose is given right after birth. One dose costs around $500. (And I have seen insurance companies try to refuse to pay!!)

The discovery of surfactant was made possible by the March Of Dimes. Before Surfactant, an average of 10,000 premature babies died every year because of Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). Now, fewer than 1,000 die from RDS annually. That's 1,000 babies too many. Donate to the March of Dimes today to help save the lives of premature babies.

For more info on Surfactant, check this out.

Zachary received 3 doses of surfactant. They usually give one dose for each lung. Zach's right lung didn't respond to the first dose, so he required a second dose on that lung. This made him remain on the vent for an additional day, one day too much.

Thank you March of Dimes for helping find this miracle drug for my son, and for so many others. Will you consider donating? Thanks!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Miss Em's bday cupcakes

Emerald wanted to wear this dress to school for her birthday

"Pink, for the girls, mom"

We had to have bunnies, and grass, and pink for girls, and blue for boys, and strawberry, and vanilla. Nope, she's not picky :)

Emerald requested cupcakes for her birthday at school. She most likely will have her bday off of school a lot, as it is near Spring Break. We took cupcakes on the last day before break. She wanted bunnies, and had to have it jus the way she wanted. The look of pride on her face as I walked in carrying her cupcakes. I can't imagine how cute she was when they sang to her. I love that she felt special! She is pretty special, and I love that she is my (not so) little girl. Happy 5th birthday Emerald, we love you.
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Zachary's happenings

He likes to climb on the mountain of clothes mommy has in the living room

He loves looking out the front door, on this day with Josiah

He's showing us "sooooooo big"

He had his last bottle

Zachary is sitting up now, finished up with bottles, and is getting around on all 4's these days. He is coming right along.

A comment about the bottles, we have had bottles 40 out of the last 60 months of our lives. We are done!! When you have them out on the counter every day, preparing them, watching the clock, cleaning, drying,'s a lot! Just a little happy dance to say we are now moving on past bottles.
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Playing catch up

Sweet pic of Skip & his sweet daddy's girl

She just looked too grown up this day

This was the closest thing to a smile I could get

Who, me? No, I wasn't getting into things I shouldn't be touching, not at all!
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy 5th birthday Emerald

Princess & ponies, Emerald's favorite things

We got Emers a bike for her bday. She had to ride it inside due to the rain.

My sweet little girl

The girl loves to play dress-up these days. This was just before her first movie, Princess & the Frog

My little girl is 5!!! How and when did that happen? Wasn't it just yesterday we drove to Gladney to pick up our precious little girl? She is growing up right before our eyes. Those legs are long and thin and have made her too tall. Those eyes are starting to worry her daddy & I for our future. She's starting to figure out the perfect way to work each of us to get her way. I remember watching her take her first steps, and now she is running as fast as I can. Her first word was "dahhhh" (aka dog), and the love of her puppy is still there, now she is spelling dog and sounding it out to read the word to us. Emerald has taken dance lessons again this year, loved it, swimming lessons again, loved it, and will start gymnastics for the first time next month. This beautiful girl is the best big sister ever--always taking time to think of her brothers first, putting up with hair pulling, screaming, sharing toys, etc. I feel so blessed to have this precious baby girl in our life. I think I've taken for granted having a girl, but as she gets older, the "girlieness" is really coming out. She has asked for special dates with her daddy (so sweet, how can you deny that), she's wanting to go shopping at times, not taking naps which allows for some special one-on-one time, and she shows us some awesome creativeness with jewelry & coloring these days. Princesses, dress-up, ponies, stuffed animals, these are the things that shows what Emerald's true loves involve, that and her monkey, Mango. Preschool has been such a wonderful blessing, continuing to push her academically and teaching her more and more each day. She loves her teacher, her classmates, homework, and learning in general. Emerald has been a picture perfect bill of health--another thing I know I've taken for granted over the years. She rarely gets a cold, takes shots w/o tears, and makes us thankful how healthy she remains. We did take our first trip to the ER with her for stitches this last year, in her head, but she handled that well, too. Emerald is a model child and I wish everyone could have a precious little girl just like her. We feel so blessed to have this angel in our lives.

While thanking God for her each night, I always included a special prayer for Josephine, her birthmother. This woman made a start for our Emers, she chose life, took care of herself & the baby inside her, felt this baby move, delivered that child, and make an ultimate sacrifice so that we could become a family. Without Josephine, our Emerald would not be our beautiful daughter, and might not be a child at all. Thank you God for the strong heart and courage of a woman we have never met, and thank you God for allowing this magnificent child enter into our lives. Emerald Rea, you are turning into a smart, sweet, caring, gentle, loving, beautiful little girl. We love you so very much. Happy birthday baby girl!!
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More Emers baby pics

Oh those Texas Bluebonnets! How we miss those!

The beginning stages of dress-up, mommy's shoes & makeup.

Emerald was a golf ball on her first halloween. We even found pink golf shoes.

I promise I didn't pose her like this. All ready for Easter church.
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Emers as a baby

On finalization day.

She had to pick up this stick to look just like us, during a hike in Alaska.

She looks so little here.
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Monday, March 8, 2010

March of Dimes info on Folic Acid

Wants to thank all of the awesome people who have donated and are helping us try to reach our goal! You rock!

Today's sponsorship is dedicated to our scary trip to the Neurosurgeon. I had a dream the night before we went that they were going to give us devasting news. I was scared (and I mean the kind of scared that had me bawling, shaking, scared to enter the office) that his MRI would result in Spina Bifida or other spinal injuries which may cause him to never be able to walk. The MRI results, combined with his weakened neck muscles at that point (and a bad result from an ultrasound) caused a lot of worry and stress. Thankfully, the results were fine, and no permanent damage was done to our boy.

Thanks to March of Dimes research, increase in folic acid consumption has reduced the number of NTD (neural tube defects) of the brain and spine by 1/3! That means for every 3 babies born with an NTD, 1 of them no longer has to endure this life-changing possibility all b/c of something as incredibly simple as adding folic acid to our diets. That is 1,000's of healthy babies out there today. Is one of them yours? There is further evidence showing that consumption of the proper amount of folic acid prior to conception could reduce NTD's by 70%.

If you have delivered a healthy baby, won't you consider donating just $10 today to support this incredilbe research that may have changed your child's life? Think of what they could do to help influence the lives of our grandchildren, before they are even born. Won't you support us with this one, very stressful doctor visit, by donating just $10??? Thanks so much :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

My little Wildcats

My little Wildcat gang.

Reminds me of hear/speak/see no evil. Maybe I'll have to pose my little monkeys like that in the future.

I thought this was a good shot of his "bump" and how it was healing.

If we distract Zachary, he can sit up pretty well these days.

I haven't really updated our kiddos lately. Calvin has been healing quite well with his post-surgery. You can still kind of feel some lumpiness under the scar, but they said that should dissolve. He has been maturing a lot lately. Calvin filled up his potty chart, and we treated him to a special night at Chuck-E-Cheese. All the kids had a ball. Calvin has been working pretty hard at this new role, but we still have a long road ahead of us. Calvin has been a great big brother lately, trying so hard to include Zachary in things. He's been surprising me with some of his comments, too. The other day they got in trouble, and 20 minutes later he tells me "mommy, I'm sorry we were naughty and didn't listen to you." It was sweet. He also answers "yes ma'am" almost all the time these days. He's still a handful at times, but he's my sweet little guy!

Emerald is getting so tall. I can't believe she turns 5 in 10 days. She is reading words to us, and is showing a lot of excitement about going into Kindergarten next year. The sassy side of Emerald has been coming out lately, and we are having to stay on her pretty tight to keep her in check. She does so much to help us out, but sometimes I think she thinks that means she is in charge around here. I also think she learns a few things at school that might influence this. I do know that they've been stuck in this house a lot this winter, and that might be making them go a little stir crazy. She is still our sweet little girl, and still very much a daddy's girl!

Zachary is doing pretty well. He started sitting up this week. It isn't for very long, but we are encourage that he can now get himself into sitting position from crawling. Before he would sit, he started climbing. He climbed up on Calvin's toddler bed, then climbed some boxes in our living room. The boy is wicked strong in his upper body. He is really cruising quite well, slow, but doing a good job of moving around. The crawling has moved to a real crawl most of the time, instead of the army crawl. He can really get those little hands and feet moving fast. Zach likes to babble a lot, and will say mama and dada, but not specifically for us yet. As far as the eating goes, no real progress. He developed croup last week. It was a horrible week, where he went from Tuesday to Saturday struggling for every breath he took. It didn't sound like croup to me, no cough, but very asthmatic sound, with his chest caving in. It really scared me. The doctor even admitted that he thought, upon walking into the room and hearing Zach, that we would have to admit him for RSV or Pneumonia. I am thankful it wasn't that bad, and we can still say we haven't been back in the hospital overnight. I've decided I can deal with vomit, snot, etc., but I can NOT deal with breathing issues--it's scary! This sickness really set Zachary back in the eating dept for the week. He still gags and vomits on every little piece of food. Thankfully he will eat Gerber food, so at least we can keep that up. Zachary has also turned into quite the mama's boy, clinging to me when a stranger enters the room. He sometimes cries if I'm in the room and Skip is holding him. It's sweet and sad all at the same time.
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