Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to School

Mason wants to brag a little about his sister and 3 brothers because he loves them so much. Oh how he smiles and giggles when they play with him. They adore and care about him more than I could have ever imagined! I'm pretty sure Mason has wondered this past week why the house has been rather quiet and where all his playmates have gone. Well, they've all gone back to school! The mornings are very crazy getting everyone on their way, but then I think Mason begins to miss his buddies. At least Braiden is still home all morning, he is in PM kindergarten, and helps a lot with Mason. Here are some cute pictures:

Kaitlin, 1st day of 4th grade &
Preston, 1st day of 2nd grade

Braiden, 1st day of Kindergarten

Ammon, 1st day back to preschool, waiting for his bus.

Mason turned 9 months old yesterday. So hard to believe. 1 more month we are so blessed to have him be part of our family. As for an update; he continues to nurse for all his feeds and won't have anything to do with a bottle. I've tried to give him a sippy cup a few times and he just bites on it with his 2 new little chompers! As for the baby cereal thing, I try everyday , and sometimes he does okay, but most of it he just spits out. We'll just keep trying. He'll get it when he's ready. Although, he could use the extra calories. He is still such a little guy!! He rolls really well from tummy to back, and with a little help from back to tummy. He sits with a assistance. And also plays so good with the toys on his swing and exersaucer. Mostly he'd just rather be held still. He's quite spoiled!!

Mason is thinking, "Don't you get it Mom, this baby cereal stuff is yucky!"

Friday, August 29, 2008

Summertime Survival

Sammi, Ammon, & Braiden going "Bye, Bye"-
(Ammon's all day long request!)

Sammi, Ammon, Kaitlin, Braiden, & Preston

Wow! The summer sure flew by! It was fun, but definitely crazy. Mason had his second surgery and another hospital stay because of a long nasty fever. Ammon went to preschool part time for 5 weeks. Kaitlin , Preston, & Braiden took a week trip to California to stay with their Aunt Tiffany & Uncle Preston where they went to Surf Camp for a week. The rest of the summer we were all home together. How did we all survive, (especially with the needs of Mason to recover well from Surgery)? The answer to that is : SAMMI, my wonderful mother's helper, errand runner, and nanny. I seriously do not know how I would have done it all with out her!!!

My kids have really become attached and we are all sad to lose her. She will still just be across the street (where she lives with her family), but needs to go back to school and continue to work in the nursing field. She is trying to get into nursing school. Which was an extra bonus, having her CNA ,I felt comfortable enough leaving Mason with her when I made quick trips to the grocery store. Sammi would help the kids do their chores and reading everyday and then take them to do something every afternoon. This way Mason and I had a quiet house for a couple hours to nap. They did lots of swimming at the AF pool, took trips to the mall, dollar movies, $2 Tuesdays at Thanksgiving Point, playing in the stream at Grandma's & up the canyon, a day at the zoo (thanks to the Primary Children's family pass), Seven Peaks day, and much more. Sammi was so fun for the kids and very creative on my frugal budget.

She would take turns with me when either Mason or Ammon (or both at the same time!) were crying and wanted Mom. She jumped right in like my "tag team" and helped me smooth things out when times were crazy(well, I guess that would be everyday at our house). Ammon now wakes up in the morning asking for Sammi. Which says a lot in itself. She is amazingly patient with him!! All the kids love her! THANKS SAMMI!!!! We hope we can have you back next summer.

Mason is doing well, but we'd all be a little better if he'd sleep more than 1 or 2 hour increments at night (or day for that matter, he doesn't nap well either). He sends his love out to all his heart buddies and his loyal supporters.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Life's Lessons

First of all, an update on Mason; He is doing pretty good. He has caught a runny nose and an eye infection that has been going around the family. But, hopefully he can kick it and it won't turn into anything else. I took he and Ammon to the Dr. today to get eye medicine and to make sure nothing else was going on. Thankfully, no strep ( my boys are all very prone to strep, except not Mason yet thank goodness) because it has been going around our extended family. Also, their lungs were clear, so that is great. The other good news is that Mason weighed in at 13lbs 2 oz. Good Job Mason!!

You would all have loved it if I had video taped this trip to the Dr.! Ammon had one nurse just chasing him around the office when it was Mason's turn to be seen by Dr. Knorr (who is also a great Pediatrician, Dr. Whiting's partner, and has been an amazing help through all of our traumas with Mason). Then when it was his turn, 2 nurses had to assist me with Mason who was crying, and Ammon who wouldn't sit still long enough for Dr. Knorr to check him. Then when we were done,to top it off, our Dr. helped me out to my car, fearing Ammon was going to run out in the parking lot without me. Which he would have. Never, have I had such experiences with any 2 of my other kiddos!

So on with my title, Life's Lessons. The other day, after talking with the mom of a girl that I taught fourth grade to (almost 14 years ago and she is now married and teaching 5th grade. Okay, so that dates me! I'm getting old! But it is her first year teaching, and I taught her my first year.) I realized how so many of my experiences in life have prepared me for the challenges I face right now. The year I taught 4th grade I took over for a teacher in November (I was graduating from BYU the next month) that was moving, and I had a very tough group of 30 kids. My plate was very full! All the teachers felt sorry for me, and even this mom (whom I talked) said how unfair the load of challenging kids I had been given. At least 4 of the boys were ADHD, one was very severe. Let's just say, there were a lot of behavior problems in the whole class when I took over. Needless to say my patience and teaching abilities were definitely put to the test. But I did learn how each child learns and responds in his own individual way.

Now, I am not saying my own kids have ADHD, but they sure have an abundant amount of energy, especially Ammon. (If we could bottle up his energy and sell it we would be millionares.) And they are also so individual in how they learn and behave. So now my patience and mothering abilities are still being tested every day. I try my best to tailor my approach with how I deal with each of them to match their personalities. Parenting is tough, but most days I think I've learned to cope better than that "4th grade" year !!

The next year I taught kindergarten at a different school. I had kids from all different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. (My "life lessons" from my mission in Guatemala, before graduating, prepared me with spanish and patience in communication for this class at least!) Besides more lessons on the individuality of each child, I had 2 kindergartners who prepared me with more specific experiences for challenges I have today. One was a little autistic boy who I grew to love. I enjoyed watching the little successes he made that year in my class. He had the same kind of energy as my Ammon. The other was a little girl who came down with hepatitis, causing kidney failure. She spent a lot of time up at Primary Children's. I remember visiting her up there and wondering how her mom was coping with everything and 2 other children. (Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would some day spend so much time up at Primary's with my own Children. ) I think the most important thing I learned that year was how crucial it is to show love to my kiddos, especially those who feel they are different. I only taught school those two years, but am grateful for all that those 2 years prepared me for!

Since I've mentioned Ammon a lot in this post I thought I should explain a little bit about my little 3 year I love so much. Most of our friends and family know his history and all we've been through with him, but our new heart friends may not know as much. He has never been diagnosed with a specific title at this point except for severe developmental delay. We have met with doctors in neurology and genetics at Primary's since he was 11 months old. He has had MRI's and numerous blood tests, and 2 years of early intervention therapy, but no exact diagnosis. What I do know though, is that he has made amazing progress. He is still behind, more so mentally than with his motor skills now, but continues to progress. He is about at a 24 month old skill level and he is 3 1/2. He is running with energy from sun up to sun down ,gets into everything possible, and then usually destroys things out of curiosity.

He attends an autistic preschool through our school district, even though he has not been diagnosed autistic & does not have all the typical characteristics, their program is a great fit for him. He has learned so much since he began. I could not ask for anything better for him right now. We feel blessed he was accepted to their preschool unit. It has been a true lifesaver with how high maintenance Miracle Mason has been for us. He requires so much time and attention.

Last week I said to myself, without Ammon's little stunts each day to keep my life comical, I would have too much time to worry (more than I all ready do) about little Mason. This thought came to me when I got up early to work out (which helps me remain sane) in our "basement gym" and my eyes were too irritated from allergies to put my contacts in, so I pulled out my glasses. And to my surprise Ammon had gotten to them. They were so bent they wouldn't even stay on my face. So I figured I'd just listen to my ipod since I wouldn't be able to see the t.v. . And what do you know, Ammon had bit off one of the ear pieces on the head phones. I just had to laugh!!

I must say because of the special needs of our youngest two, our other 3 kids have become very sensitive to others who may be different. Which is truly wonderful! I am grateful for each one of my kids and the joy they bring me each day. I am still learning how to be a good mother, and am grateful to know I have forever with my kids to keep learning and improving.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cute Pictures and Mason's Firsts....

His shirt says, "what's not to like?-
a gift from our super babysitter

All the kids made tie-dye shirts one
day while Mason was in the hospital.
This is Braiden, 5, holding Mason.

Mason loves to suck on his toes!

Mason found some new entertainment.
This exersaucer buys Mom a few extra
minutes now.

Sweet-heart Mason asleep in his swing. (Aunt Meg we love the swing!)

Mason loves being home.

Life has been so busy that a chance to blog has been impossible. I've only been working on this post for over a day now, but interruptions is part of a mom's life! I do have a few little updates about Mason. First and most importantly he has been rather healthy since we've returned from Hotel Primary's. I just won't say that too loud, in hopes for good luck to stay with us.

Mason has had a few FIRSTS this last week and would like to brag about them.
1) His FIRST tooth poked through last Thursday! (& his second this morning, Wed.) He actually surprised me, because he didn't act any differently to hint his tooth was bothering him. Just his usual fussiness at night, but nothing out of the ordinary. Boy a few of my other kiddos would certainly let me know. I guess teething is nothing compared to what Mason's already been through!!!
2) He tried baby cereal for the FIRST time. He was not too thrilled about this and each time I try he still isn't. Time and Patience!! After all he is a heart baby and because of all the nasty medicines he has had to take he thinks he's safe just to stick with Mommy's Milk.
3)For the FIRST time since April, he has gone for a week straight without oxygen day or night!! Yeah! I think the whole family is thrilled about this. I don't miss the 50 foot cord one bit.

I also need to post a special THANK YOU to a sweet person named Hannah and my mystery friend who sent her. Hannah, whom I had never met, called me, introduced herself , and said she and a friend of mine who both watch my blog, thought I could use an extra hand around the house. So, she came on Saturday and helped me for a few hours with some cleaning. She said this was a gift for me and plans to come again. Wow this was so nice. Thank you to Hannah and my friend who wishes to remain onimous. ( I think I have an idea who it is!!! You are awesome!)

Also, thank you to our amazing neighborhood who once again brought our family meals while Mason and I were recently at the Hospital, and even when we returned home!

ps. Blogger's spacing drives me crazy. It has a mind of its own!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Yeah Mason is back home! Mason and I (Mom) got home last night(Monday) at 11pm. It was a long 3 days at the hospital, but Mason is feeling much better now. The funny thing is, I think his body finally kicked what he had on its own! He didn't have any more fevers after Saturday. All of the blood tests and stool cultures did not come up with anything except for the elevated CPR(level of infection). By Sunday The CPR level had come way down, from 7.6 to 4 and by Monday to 3.5. The normal is 0.5 . So we know for sure he had some kind of nasty infection, but at least his body is finally fighting it off. There was speculation now of a little bit of viral pneumonia in his left lung and/or possibly a viral tummy infection. But what matters most is he is feeling and looking much happier.

His hematocrit(sp?) level was lower than heart babies should be,( I can't help but think all those awful blood draws had to of contributed to this) so he got a blood transfusion yesterday before we came home. That always perks him right up.

Thanks for all your love and support. Summer

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Back at the Hotel

Okay, so Mason is back at his favorite hotel, (the only hotel he knows), Primary Children's Medical Center Hotel. His fevers have continued for 13 days now so our Pediatricians and Cardiology decided to admit Mason to the 3rd floor at PCMC for more testing. It is alarming how long his fevers have continued, so they (and us too) want to figure out the cause.

Today, after another echo, chest x-rays, CT images of his heart and lungs, and several blood draws (those awful "mommy sad moments"), the word is "baffled"..... possibly some fluid on the left lung (hmm..we've heard that before) and still an elevated CRP that remains the same....nothing new. They are culturing more blood (and again that can take 72 hours) because the others from Tuesday all showed negative, but something has caused these fevers. It's been a long day for Mason amd Mom too. Hopefully we'll get some rest and the morning will bring him feeling better and some answers too!!!