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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Sustenance

"Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character.  We like to be around those who are grateful.  They tend to brighten all around them.  They make others feel better about themselves.  They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable.
 ...Choice blessings await those who live in thanksgiving daily. 'He who receiveth all things with thankfulness,' the Lord has promised, 'shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more' (D&C 78:19).
Don't wait to start. Open your eyes, open your hearts, and open your arms. I promise that as you do so, you will feel greater joy and happiness. Your life will have a new level of meaning. You will forge relationships that will transcend this life and endure through the eternities."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


a hardworking and loving husband, 
whose efforts allow me to stay at home with our son

Brian's job, 
which financially provides for the basic needs and the comforts in life that we enjoy

our wonderful friends and family,
who stood by us, prayed for us, lifted us up, and kept us going

Brian's employer and his coworkers, 
who gave him unbelievable flexibility and understanding during our trying time

 my selfless mother, 
who dropped everything when I was first admitted to the hospital,
and came to live with us, staying for 2 months through the holidays

the tireless nurses and doctors in the NICU and beyond, 
who have taken such phenomenal care of our little boy, through all the ups and downs

our caring church family, 
who supported us, provided meals, and prayed for us

our imaginary {internet} friends,
for the generous outpouring of love, prayers, and support they offered, in our time of need

a loving Heavenly Father, 
who carried us in our darkest moments

our faith in Jesus Christ, 
which gave us hope and helped us to be strong for our little boy

amazing Connor, 
who fought like a champ and came out ahead,
and continues to make us smile every.single.day.

my wonderful and happy life!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Private practices

This is probably the best idea I've seen in days...

If you have a PRIVATE blog, good for you.  But, please consider creating an UPDATE blog for your faithful Google Reader (or other RSS reader) followers.

Read Megan's explanation here for more details.

As Martha would say, "It's a good thing!"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Sustenance

"This is the season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships, in other words, to become more Christlike."

- Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Countdown to Christmas - RERUN

Re-running a post from last December... this one consistently gets hits year-round on Sprik Space, and with the holidays fast approaching, I thought it might be fun to dust it off and revisit a few old ideas...

Lately, I've been a little obsessed with Holiday Advent Calendars.

I recently spotted this crafty and clever idea for Advent Boxes on {A}, and I think I could pull it off, too. See her tutorial here and here. I don't think I would be as brave as she was in pinning them to a wall (too much spackling afterwards!), but I can definitely envision them on an embellished corkboard.

Or, there's even the Stocking Garland Advent Calendar idea, as illustrated by Martha here. Fellow blogger, Dandee, pulled it off with great finesse as seen on this post.

I also adore the Advent Calendar Pockets that Jenny of Allsorts created and described here. No sewing machine necessary... that's my kind of project!

Wondering what you'd put in your advent calendar (besides treats, of course) if your family had one, too? Send me your e-mail - I have a couple of lists of ideas, activities, and scriptures to fill them with.

Having an advent calendar is one of the many family holiday traditions I'm planning for in a few years.

One tradition I've already begun collecting for is a Christmas Book A Day. The idea is to collect various holiday storybooks to read as a family for each of the days before Christmas. The Flowering Dogwood suggested here to individually wrap them, to make them even more fun.

Another tradition I'm gearing up for is the Christmas Elf. The idea is to invite an elf into your home prior to Christmas, for him to keep an eye on well-behaving children for Santa. The elf might leave surprises for the family, and each day the children will find him in the morning after his evening adventures. My mom introduced this idea to her fellow church ladies last year, and I've been collecting more information I'll want to use as part of our family's tradition. See more details online here and here. I picked up the perfect Christmas Elf at Tai Pan Trading while I was in Utah, and he's just waiting for a little one to interact with.

Brian and I have already been talking about how fun and more meaningful the Christmas season will be when we have a little family of our own. We can't wait!

Since I'm collecting ideas, do you have fun family holiday traditions you want to share? Tell me! Tell me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

11 months old

Happy {almost} first birthday, Connor!

Today, you are 11 months old!

No official stats this month, since none of his doctor visits are requiring vitals.  If we had to estimate, I'd put him at right around 20 pounds.

Some of the things Connor's been up to this month:
  • He's cutting his 2 bottom teeth simultaneously...  F.U.N.
  • He's rapidly outgrowing the 1st stage of his jumperoo, the highest level of the crib mattress, the baby aisle at Target, the swing, the infant carrier car seat...  this all makes Mommy sad!
  • He still lets me hold him for his first morning nap, just after the first bottle everyday.  Hands down, my favorite part of every day.
  • He now cries for attention... and we're on to your fake cries, buddy!  ;)
  • He's also getting pretty attached... and gets upset when you leave the room.
  • Get so excited when I pull out the Graduates Melts (snack food), turn the deadbolt on the front door (b/c that means we're going outside), when he's being undressed for bath time, when the bib is being placed around his neck for solid food meal time.  I love how predictable and FUN his responses are to these things!
  • He's moving into the big boy car seat this weekend, still rear-facing, but it's a good transition for our big excursion to Phoenix.
  • Connor LOVES his snacks... esp. yogurt melts and freeze-dried fruit.
  • He drinks from a regular cup (with assistance) and a sippy cup.
  • He even holds his own bottle when he's in the mood.
  • When he's patient enough, he can get his finger foods (Gerber Puffs) into his mouth all by himself.
  • He can roll both directions and sometimes from his stomach back to his back
  • He loves to hear his name in whatever song Mommy is singing... "C is for CONNOR", "La-la la la, it's CONNOR'S world", "CONNOR, I love you", etc.
  • He's very coordinated with his pacifier...
  • Connor makes lots of funny noises, and likes to hear the sounds he makes - entertains himself sometimes just vocalizing.
  • His latest favorite sound is making one like a creaky door... which is pretty close to shrieking.  I bet he'll figure out that treasure just in time for our plane ride in a couple of weeks.
  • Connor prefers to sit up to play, rather then lay down, and can go quite awhile without toppling over.
  • He's inhaling Stage 2 foods right now, and we're close to moving on to more finger/table foods.
  • We're so used to bigger diapers on him, he'll be transitioning to size 4 soon  (which he already wears at night to protect his clothes - ahem.) - we prefer the entire butt cheek to be covered in this house, no matter how cute it is.
  • He's this close to fitting into 12-month clothing.
  • He's learned how to spit raspberries...  makes feeding time a whole new experience.
  • He's definitely the cutest kid in a helmet we've ever seen!
  • He's kinda sorta starting to wave bye-bye and give high fives.

Connor's had a very quiet month, medically.  We've only traveled back and forth to one place (numerous times) - CT - for his band.  This next month will be quiet for Connor, too... yippee!  (As far as doctors' appointments go.)

In a couple of weeks, barring a massive pandemic, we're very much looking forward to our trip to Phoenix to visit my side of the family.  Grandpa and Uncle Scott haven't seen Connor since last December, Grandma not since May, the MacKinlays not since July, and Erik & Emily not for very long at all!  We also have a new niece/cousin to meet... and we can't wait! 

His monthly photo album:

 November 15, 2009

October 23, 2009

 Tummy time - October 24, 2009

 Got a monkey on his back - November 15, 2009

 Mommy's view - October 27, 2009

 November 15, 2009

 October 28, 2009

 October 29, 2009

 LOVES his juice - October 29, 2009

 Big boys sit up - October 29, 2009

 Serious. - November 6, 2009

 Big boys hold their bottles - October 31, 2009

 November 15, 2009

 Best friends - November 1, 2009

 Enemies - November 4, 2009

 Just peeking - October 31, 2009

 Seriously?! - November 6, 2009

 November 15, 2009

 Daddy & his Drool Machine - October 23, 2009

Connor's Elvis impersonation - November 8, 2009

Brian and I are both anxious for his upcoming first birthday... not because we want him to get older (because believe you me, I'm mourning the aging of my BABY), but I think we both want to put this tumultuous year behind us.  We want to experience a year of NORMAL... a year without hospital stays and copious doctors' visits.  We both still have a hard time thinking back to the beginning of 2009, and all that Connor had to go through - we still can't make sense of it all.
So, we look forward to December 16th as an opportunity to put the stress and grief of 2009 behind us!

Since we'll be in Phoenix for a while close to his actual birthday, and because Uncle Scott's birthday falls on the 12th, we thought it would be fun to celebrate his first birthday with the entire Rogers Clan on December 13th.  (We'll also be having an early Christmas that day, too... whew!) 

Anyone have any ideas of a game for adults to play at a first birthday party?

I'm completely stumped, and drawing a total blank.

Instead, I've been focusing my efforts on the food, the cupcakes, and the decor... early Christmas prep here at home and for 9 of our AZ family members... and oh yeah, prepping for a major trip.

Just a wee bit busy...  :S

October 27, 2009 

After next month, I won't be posting these monthly updates anymore.
Don't worry... I'll still be blogging and posting pictures, just not these massive monthly posts.

I'm actually looking forward to compiling this year of Connor posts and monthly memes into a book of some sort, to have a permanent record.  I don't scrapbook, so this is the closest thing Connor will have to a baby book.  (If any grandparents, family, friends would like a copy, just contact me and I'll let you know what I come up with.)


November 15, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Sustenance

"Children are likely 
to live up to 
what you believe of them."
- Lady Bird Johnson

Friday, November 13, 2009

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Decorating the Band

We knew, pretty much from the get-go, that if this band was going to happen, decorations were going to have to happen, too.  Not only does this "soften" the appearance of the helmet for Mommy & Daddy, it also appears less "medical" to other people we might run into as well.  I had to take Connor with me to pick up his prescriptions just prior to decorating his helmet, and I'm not sure I would have politely put up with the looks and stares we received, just in our 30-min at Target, for very long.  Apparently, tact is dead these days.

So, in case this post is ever passed along to someone else contemplating a band decoration, a few things I learned:

I preferred the look of larger decals than I would be able to get just using scrapbook stickers, so I went with vinyl ones from Bling Your Band.  The seller was very easy to work with, and we received our decals within 3 days of placing the order.

She suggested that people "seal" the decals so that they stay forever, by using DecoArt's Multi-Purpose Sealer...  BIG MISTAKE for us.  I covered the decals with 1 thin coat the night I placed them on his helmet, and by the end of the next day, the sealer was flaking off.  So, I repeated with a second thin coat, which is currently flaking off as well.  Not to mention the fact, that you're supposed to clean the inside of the band with rubbing alcohol, and when the alcohol hits the sealer, it starts to strip it and make it tacky to the touch.  (So, I have to clean it very carefully now.)  I just wish I had put the decals on and that's it, no sealer.  Oh well.  (I spent the good part of an hour peeling it all away today... like a bad sunburn.  What a waste of time.)

Before someone else brings it up...  We chose to put Connor's name on the front, because at his young age, there's really no concern for stranger danger.  He's always attached to one of us anyway, and if it helps someone to coo and smile at him, rather than pitifully stare, then good.

Overall, we're pretty pleased with how it turned out, and it's gone a long way to making this whole experience a little easier on all of us.

November 9, 2009

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Band Fitting... and Re-Fitting... and Re-Fitting

Two weeks ago, we received Connor's band/helmet.  Everything was all scheduled for Thursday, but we got a call on Wednesday afternoon saying it was in and would we want to come down.  We went ahead, to go get it over with.  Since I had been emotionally and mentally preparing myself (and probably psyching myself out) for this to happen on Thursday, it was probably good in the long run that I had less time to obsess about it. 

First few seconds with his helmet - October 28, 2009

The initial fitting took over an hour.  They placed it on his head, left it for awhile, then came back to check pressure points.  They marked up his head with lipstick, and re-placed the helmet, then removed it to shave down the problem areas (as indicated by the lipstick marks on the inner foam).

 October 28, 2009

We had never really noticed Connor touching his head or ears before... but, now with the helmet, he's very aware of that part of his body.

 Not happy at all - October 28, 2009

Being distracted by Daddy - October 28, 2009

It was really hard for me to see him in the helmet for the first time.  I'm sure I'm not the first parent who's cried in their office.  By the time we were finally able to leave, I was ready to leave his helmet behind.

View from the top - October 28, 2009

View from the back - October 28, 2009

View from the front - October 28, 2009

To say it's been a difficult two weeks, would be an understatement.  I don't really want to moan and complain much more than I already have, but it's been hard on the whole family.  The helmet has been an adjustment for everybody - when Connor's uncomfortable, then he doesn't sleep or he's fussy... which means Mommy and Daddy are fussy, too.  Being so little, Connor has no idea that thrashing his head around when he's upset causes bruises and fat lips. 

To be quite honest, after all that he's endured, this is just one big, fat annoyance.  One we're anxious to put behind us in a few months time.

 Red spots - October 29, 2009

So, we've had the helmet for two weeks now, and we've been to Cranial Tech in Oak Brook 4 times for adjustments and fittings.  Connor lucked out with my sensitive skin, so we've dealt with a lot of pressure points and red spots that don't fade after an hour's time.  When they don't subside, we have to continue to watch them with the helmet off, and then usually travel to CT for an adjustment.

More red spots - October 29, 2009

The helmet keeps him really warm, sweaty-warm, so we have to watch how we dress him.  Sooooo glad we're not doing this in July!  Because he sweats, combined with the materials that make up his helmet, it doesn't take long for him to lose that sweet baby smell.  :(

However, with all pains and discomfort these past two weeks, we're already seeing an improvement in his head shape.  The clinicians at CT can see it as well.  Which is amazing, because we know how relatively little he's worn the helmet, compared to their stringent 23-hour/day rule.  (While we've dealt with all of the pressure point issues, Connor's been unable to wear the helmet for long stretches at a time.)

Back for an adjustment - October 30, 2009

Seeing progress in such a short time, gives us the motivation to push forward.  After all, if we could survive the NICU experience, I KNOW we can do this!
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