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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just 28 more days...

IMG_7328.2March 12, 2010

When I took Connor to his helmet adjustment appointment today, I casually asked the therapist how much longer she felt treatment would be.

Her response, “We’re halfway done with this band.  I’d say about 7 more weeks!

Why The Face?!?! 
(Thanks, Hayley.)

So, I happily informed her that his treatment would end on April 27th.

Exactly 4 weeks from today. 

Under Construction GraphicConnor’s Helmet Graduation Day, April 27th, will also mark 26 weeks of helmet wearing… half of a year.

That’s as long as I’m willing to allow this helmet to delay his development any further.  We’ve got to get this kid crawling already!  (And he doesn’t seem to move as much when he’s wearing it.) 

I caught a whiff of it this morning, and it’s just starting to reek.  I can’t imagine how bad it would smell… and make him smell… if he wore it into warmer months.

As it is, when he gets up in the morning, his hair is sopping wet with sweat caused by the helmet.  So gross!

Brian and I are happy with the progress he's made, and feel that the shape of his head now looks completely normal.

April seems like a good month to be done with it!  :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Sustenance

"Whatever you are, 
be a good one." 

- Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, March 27, 2010

15 months old

IMG_7436.2 Connor had his 15-month well check last week.

19 lbs, 13 oz

27.5” tall

Exactly 1 month prior, at his nephrology appointment, he was measured at 20 lbs, 15 oz.  Allowing a bit for some discrepancies between different scales, it still means he's lost weight.

Pediatrician also measured him at only 27.5" again, same as in December... which is funny because the nephrologist had him at just slightly over 28" one month ago.... whatever. 

For his adjusted age, this puts him in the 5th-10th percentiles for weight and height...  and  his noggin is still in the 50th percentile.  So, he’s dropped since his 12-month well check.

He's definitely been more active this past month, with trying to move/crawl/scoot, but the pediatrician says that he wouldn't be expected to LOSE weight with additional activity.  (I disagree and kinda think it's a natural consequence, within reason, for babies.)

IMG_7421.2Too BIG! – March 20, 2010

So, we're working hard on fattening him up!  More snacks, bigger meals, and giving him a little "milkshake" (Pediasure) every day, too... pretty much it seems he’s eating all the time.  He's losing interest in the bottle fast (unless there's juice in it, and only if he's in the right mood), which is incredibly frustrating, because the kid wants absolutely nothing to do with sippy cups either.  He's now officially "allowed" to have whole milk, too.  He’s supposed to have more than 16oz. of fluid a day… and lately, we’re lucky to get 9oz. in him.  As you can well imagine, with a lower fluid intake overall, he's doing numbers on his pooping abilities.  There’s a strong possibility that this has something to do with teething, but only time will tell. 

Has anyone else’s kid weaned themselves from the bottle AND rejected the sippy cup?  What did you do??

He had to go back to the pediatrician this week for some shots (had a little cold last week), and I made them weigh him again, just to see if there'd be any pay-off for my efforts on Operation Fat.  Happy to report: 3 whole ounces!  YIPPEE!  :)  It's not much, but I'll take whatever I can get.

Not spoiled.  Not one bit.  03.22.10

At his 15-month well check, the pediatrician did his 1-page developmental assessment and determined that Connor was pretty much right on track for his adjusted age, or even in line with his chronological age on everything but gross motor (the not crawling issue again) and SPEECH.  In fact, he decided that his speech development was that of a 9-month-old. 

This is really interesting, since his EI speech therapist had determined not 2 months earlier that he was pretty much in line with his chronological age.  I let the pediatrician know I did not concur, but agreed to take Connor in for a speech evaluation.  (And annoyed as all get out, because the last thing this kid needs is MORE appointments.)

So, this past Thursday was his speech evaluation.  At first, I was freaking out a little, because Connor seemed to be “failing” at all the tasks she was asking him to do…  feed a baby with a spoon, naming toys/objects he’d never seen before, etc.  About a half-hour later, we got to the interview part of the evaluation, and the speech pathologist seemed to like what she heard… and told us to come back for another evaluation in 6-8 months.  Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!  We can do follow-up appointments, especially when they’re so spread out like that!  She had no concerns for him right now… he’s right in line with his adjusted age, if not a little ahead, based on his comprehension, etc.  She also seemed very impressed with his current eating habits, surprised at how well he’s doing based on how premature he was.  :)

IMG_7415.2This is how he rolls… – March 17, 2010

We’re doing okay with the helmet wearing lately…  I give him more breaks than I probably should, but can you really blame me?  Under Construction GraphicPoor kid actually has calluses on the crown of his head from wearing it. 

Brian and I are planning his Cranial Tech Graduation Day for April 27th.  That would make for 11 weeks with this 2nd band… 26 weeks total of helmet wearing.  And, WE.ARE.DONE.  The areas the CT therapists are waiting to see if they’ll fill out are actually flat spots on Brian’s head, too… so, who’s to say it’s not genetics, and it can’t be fixed??  Only 3 more appointments, beginning this Tuesday.  I can’t wait! 

Connor is enrolled in physical therapy, just twice per month.  His PT wants to provide services until he’s walking… (which makes me weary).  We’ll see how fast he takes off once we get the crawling thing down. 

Overall, Connor’s been making GREAT progress!  Everyday it seems he learns something new…  roaring like a lion, hissing like a snake, “washing” his hands, giving high fives.  Even though his mobility is still somewhat limited, he does find ways to get around, and is keeping us on our baby-proofing toes! 

Slow and steady wins the race, right?!?  :)

Giggles with Grandma Sprik  03.26.10

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Sustenance

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just like people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
- Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Brief Bits

A quick round-up of what I've found on the web this last while that got my creative juices flowin':

1.  From Chris, Erin & Jayce - DIY Wall Art
I just can't get over this clever idea!  In fact, I'm about 99% positive that I'll be attempting it myself for my master bedroom.  The weather's really starting to get spray-paint-worthy!

2.  From Kraft Foods - Creamy Lemon Blueberry Dessert
Few things go as well together as lemon and blueberry.  This little number looks divine.

3.  From Nannygoat - Courage Jar
Our home teacher's message this month was about moral courage.  This Courage Jar idea is a great one to help your family stand up for what they believe and live with integrity, all while working together to attain a family reward.  This one's going in my future family ideas file.

4.  From Craftaholics Anonymous - Spring Felt Flowers Wreath
Check out this inexpensive, easy, and cute idea for sprucing up your door/wall for spring.  Love it!

5.  From Make It and Love It - Hemp Ball Accents
Got a bowl or basket that needs fillers?  Here's an affordable way to make your own decorative balls.

6.  From Lifehacker - Get the most from your point-and-shoot camera
One of these days, I'd really love to have a DSLR camera.  Nothing fancy, just something simple.  In the meantime, I really enjoyed this brief guide for making the most of what I've got currently out of my point-and-shoot camera.

7.  From Everyday Celebrations - Colors Quiet Book
I love the simplicity of this quiet book using colored fabric scraps.  It's so basic, even I could pull it off!  (And where sewing's concerned, that says a lot!)  Plus, she sells the iron-on letter kits in her Etsy shop for only $4.00.

8.  From Brown Paper Packages - Family Values Canvas
I thought this was a really nice way to display those values that are important to your family.  Another great idea I'm saving for the future!  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Lucky  03.17.09
Though we didn’t really feel lucky at the time
(and unknowingly had another 27 long days left in the NICU)...

One year later, we most certainly do!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010



Plain and simple, I read too many blogs.  In my defense, they give me inspiration.  My Google Reader is nearly always full, and I’m rarely, if ever, caught up.  I guess I can honestly say it’s both a hobby… and a vice.

Lately, it seems that many of the blogs I truly love are changing.  I understand changing, and wanting to take things in new directions online.  However,… 

It drives me CrAzY when…

Blogs do compensated product reviews.  As if they’re actually going to say anything negative.  If they did, they wouldn’t keep getting free stuff.  I’m not jealous, it’s just nothing I have time for…  to do myself or to read about others doing it.  If I’m interested in a product, I’ll Google it when I’m ready to learn about it, and find your glowing review then.  (And, I just removed you from my Reader.)

Blogs sell out.  I understand that blogging has become a source of income for many people.  Kudos to you.  But I DVR television for a reason… so I can fast forward through the commercials.  I can’t stand reading “commercials” on your blog, where you ooooh and aaaah over your latest “sponsor” (who just sent you free stuff).  As soon as I see one of those in your feed (where it hasn’t been before), I tend to remove you from my Reader.  I figure if you post something worth reading about in the future, it’s likely going to be regurgitated in some form on a different blog I read.

Blogs turn into Giveaway Central.  There’s nothing wrong with a little giveaway here and there…  but since I’ve basically stopped entering giveaways (because “not winning” gets old, natch), reading your multiple giveaway posts gets a little tired, I can’t keep up, and it makes me remove you from my Reader.

Blogs shorten their post feed on Reader.  I don’t click through all of the shortened posts that pop up in my Reader… only the ones that grab my attention before I rapidly scroll on by.  If you’ve always had a shortened feed, I might still be reading.  But for those blogs who’ve just recently shortened their feed, hoping to drive traffic to their site… buh-bye.  I have to really love you, or know you IRL, to keep reading.

Blogs move all good content to Twitter or Facebook.  I can’t keep up, and honestly 140-characters is lazy blogging.  It’s not the same.

Blogs with great ideas go private.  I understand your reasons for going private… I really do.  Personally, I think there’s a greater chance the axe murderer/pedophile will follow you home from the grocery store.  Unless I know you IRL, I’m not going to ask to be added to your allowed list.  And that makes me sad.  (If I am on your allowed list, check out this great idea.)

You know, I read this list of pet peeves of mine, and I sound like a prima donna…  I’m not.  I don’t have delusions that I’m a “powerful” blogger with a truckload of followers and what I say goes.  Not at all.  I’m simply a big fan of the medium, and many things I find online inspire me in various aspects of my life.  These are just my honest opinions (which I’m entitled to have).  I’ve never been a fan of leaving nasty comments on someone’s blog when they start doing things I don’t like… I just stop reading and move on.  Simple as that.

It’s a two-way street really…  I don’t expect to have readers on my blog.  I’m truly flattered to know that I have some and I value each and every one of you… I do not take you for granted!  Seeing your comments in my inbox makes me really happy and is incredibly validating.  But, I decided a while ago that I’m writing this blog for me (& my family).  It’s my little hobby, and I hope you enjoy it.  So, when I post something here on Sprik Space, it’s because it’s something I want to tell YOU, my friends.  And again, I hope you like it!  :)signature5

March for Babies

The family of one of Connor's girlfriends from the NICU is actively involved with the March of Dimes.

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

This April is the annual March for Babies Walk in Naperville.  Similar events are held all over the country.
Natalie's family has organized a team called The Nat Pack, and they are fundraising for this effort right now.  (Unfortunately, we won't be able to participate this year, but we want to help support them in every way we can!)

The money raised for March for Babies will help:
  • support all-important research offering preventions and solutions for babies born too soon or with birth defects
  • educate women on things they can do to increase their chances of having a healthy baby
  • provide comfort and information to families with a newborn in intensive care
  • push for newborn screening and health insurance for all pregnant women and children.
Please help their team help babies! 
Click on the DONATE button below or in the sidebar to help this most worthy cause.


Monday, March 15, 2010


No major news to share here... 
thought the grandparents would like to see some of Connor’s recent pictures.

We've just been biding our time indoors until Spring officially arrives. 
Then we'll venture out some more; still avoiding crowds whenever possible. 
We can't wait!

Crib Kneeling  03.10.10 We’ve since lowered the mattress in his crib, 
which should give Connor more leverage to actually pull himself to standing.

IMG_7252.2 In our latest quest for sure-fire giggles, we’ve discovered 
that Daddy’s goatee tickles… A LOT! – March 8, 2010

IMG_7247.2 Connor’s hair is definitely getting longer and slowly thicker! – March 7, 2010

Slinky Fun  03.12.10
Oh, the ways we entertain ourselves on gray, dreary days!

IMG_7392.2 Ready to go OUTSIDE! – March 12, 2010

IMG_7253.2 Father & son – March 8, 2010

Zoolander Poses  03.12.10 First person to comment on this pop culture reference, gets… a SHINY gold star!  :)

Connor’s not yet crawling, 
but we’re working on sitting from a laying down position and kneeling.  
Physical therapy, now twice monthly, should start to help with that.

Under Construction Graphic Planning for just 4-6 more weeks in the band…  shooting for 4!  
We’re still seeing little to no change in the shape of his head since getting the 2nd band.  As evidenced by these posted photos, I'm really trying to be diligent about his helmet-wearing... actually doing a lot better this second time around.  In retrospect, at this point in his treatment, I kinda think we shouldn’t have bothered with this 2nd band. But... ask me again in a month.

Feels like Brian’s traveling constantly these days (because he pretty much is!), 
so we’re taking advantage of family time whenever we can get it!

And, oh yeah...
"Mama" has officially been said, on purpose!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Sustenance

"Do not go where the path may lead. 
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Brief Bits

A quick round-up of what I've found on the web this last while that got my creative juices flowin':

I love this idea...  very simple to do, just wondering if I have the patience to pull it off!  You could make it any size, any color scheme.  Gorgeous!

2.  From My Favorite Things - My Favorite Chocolate Cookie Recipe
This recipe was previously my go-to for chocolate chip cookies...  but now, I'm thinking this new one looks pretty dreamy.  The addition of a pudding mix is intriguing...

3.  From MeckMom - Keep Diaper Supplies Handy with this Simple Trick
I'm not a huge purse carrier... in fact, pre-Connor, as long as Brian was with me, I didn't even carry a wallet.  So, lugging a huge diaper bag around (though I love the one I have) was quite a change.  Lately, we've transitioned to a simple diaper purse, but I know one of these days I'm going to forget it at home.  This idea is one of those light bulb moments for me, and I'm totally going to outfit our car seat the same way!   

4.  From Ohdeedoh - Turn Thumbprint Leaves into Family Heirloom
This thumbprint tree idea was used as a guest book for a wedding, but would also be great for a baby shower, or as the post mentioned, baby visitors, party guests, etc.  When all is said and done, it would make a beautiful and meaningful piece of wall art.  Click through for all the deets.

5.  From Ali Edwards - Photo Type Case
Oh my... this idea is AMAZING!  What a fun and beautiful way to capture family memories!  And how gorgeous would this be hanging in your family room/game room??  I ran a quick eBay search on type cases, and was happy to see how affordable they are... most under $30.  I'm going to wait until we accumulate more family memories, but this idea is totally on my to-do list.   

6.  From Baking Bites - Samoas Bars
The second best thing to come in February, besides Valentine's Day, are Girl Scout Cookies!  And my absolute favorites, hands down, are Samoas.  It just doesn't get any better than chocolate + caramel + coconut!  These homemade Samoas Bars look divine... 

7.  Family Tree Kit
I've made a family tree for our home using one of these kits from Red Envelope... and a few years ago, I made one for my parents in a style very similar to these.  The price on these kits is unbelievable... just $15.  And if you don't love your handwriting, they'll complete yours for you for just $65.  All that's missing is a frame.  If only I had been more patient...

8.  From Brown Paper Packages - EASY Chalkboard Frames  
I've been thinking for a while that my kitchen needs a chalkboard, and have been hunting to no avail.  I stumbled upon this easy tutorial to take an ordinary picture frame, spray the glass with chalkboard paint, paint the frame if you want, and waaaahlah!  Your very own, custom chalkboard... without paying a custom fee.

9.  From Somewhat Simple - Rainbow Jello Treats
Such a clever idea for St. Patrick's Day!  I'm definitely filing away this idea for the future.  

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sunday Sustenance

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."
- Helen Keller

Saturday, March 06, 2010

“Beautiful labs!”

February 5, 2010

Connor’s pediatrician called last week and uttered pure music to my ears…

“Beautiful labs!”

he exclaimed, about 5 times through our conversation.
IMG_7061.2“Duh duh durrr…” - February 11, 2010

A few weeks ago, I had given him a call to inquire about getting a full work-up done on Connor.  It had been awhile since his last round of lab work (early fall 2009), and I was very curious to see how he was really doing.  Not that I suspected anything, but I wanted to be able to put all fears to rest.  Any serious illnesses always have follow-ups, and I wanted to know that we were definitely in the clear on some of his previous issues (OOP, cholestasis, anemia, etc).  Knowing that we’d be making a follow-up visit to Connor’s nephrologist at Lutheran General in February, and that he would be ordering some of his own labs (urinalysis, etc.), I figured that particular visit would be our best opportunity.  Connor’s had plenty of “sticks” at our local hospital, where he was a NICU patient, but the poor kid has my veins, so he’s a harder stick than most… we usually end up flustering the phlebotomists.  Not wanting him to be a pin cushion because I was just curious, the lab at the children’s hospital was definitely the way to go.

IMG_7223.2Spaghetti – March 3, 2010

This visit to the nephrologist also called for another renal ultrasound (his last one was 4 months ago)… and this time I was on my own.  After having most of 2009 “off”, Brian’s back to being a road warrior, and his schedule called for him to be away for this particular appointment.  Lucky me.  (I had been blessed up to this point to have Brian able to attend these major doctor appointments with me.)

Daddy's Little Stowaway - 02.14.10

Connor’s at that handful stage right now, where he’s old enough to know what he does and doesn’t want happening to him, strong enough to wriggle out of whatever position he’s forced into, and feisty enough to let everyone know about it.  He’s currently around 22 pounds or so (and 28” tall), making him an armful, too… especially with not crawling or walking.

IMG_7169.2 Little man - March 3, 2010

The ultrasound was… interesting.  I’m surprised she was able to get any still shots at all of his kidneys.

Still shots or not, the results were great!  The “densities” previously seen have dissipated and are nearly gone; leading the doctor to believe they were just protein droplets (and not calcium deposits – kidney stones).  His kidneys are still swollen, but that’s to be expected with his urinary reflux.

IMG_7227.2March 3, 2010

The nephrologist appointment was typical… except for the entertaining Connor, understanding nephrology-ese, AND taking notes part.  For now, he’s continuing Connor on the prophylactic antibiotic (which he’s been on practically since birth to prevent UTIs), holding off on a diuretic a little bit longer, and wanting us back in July for another VCUG, renal ultrasound, urinalysis, and follow-up appointment.  Perhaps by then he will have nearly outgrown his urinary reflux!

IMG_7242.2Hair! – March 3, 2010

Back to those “Beautiful labs!”…
Getting “stuck” this time around was ridiculous.  At the beginning, Connor was actually giggling through the first few tubes.  (I know… yay!)  Then they lost the vein and started to root around, and he lost it, too.  The phlebotomists ended up pricking his fingertips, which meant I was covered in blood by the time we rolled out of there.  Not a big deal, but it’s impossible to apply pressure to tiny, squirmy fingers!  And then there was the issue of removing his urine collection bag myself and trying to empty it into a tiny cup, while applying pressure to his fingers, and while keeping him from rolling off the table.  Fun times.
Giddy Up!  03.03.10

So, here we are at 14-15 months of age… and Connor’s blood work has finally come back to “within normal ranges”.

I’m definitely still in shock… but, oh so grateful!!  At this point last year, we were just learning about all of these issues (1,2,3).  What a relief to not have to try to understand or worry about blood counts, liver enzymes, platelets, etc.

He really has come such a long way!!  (And we couldn’t feel more blessed.)
IMG_6815.2February 5, 2010

Under Construction Graphic
As far as the band goes, we just had our 3rd fitting, and by my count, there should only be 3-4 more fittings… or about 7 weeks left.  I can’t wait!  Any change to his head is definitely slower this time around.  The subtleties the techs are feeling are not very apparent or obvious to me or Brian, so it’s very discouraging.  However, we are determined to “hang in there” for the 3-month duration.
IMG_7197.2 March 3, 2010

Hopefully this week will bring us a new PT schedule… there’s been some undesirable drama with the clinic we take him to, and the physical therapist we loved “is no longer there.”  So, we’ll be assigned to our 4th physical therapist since we started going last August.  Really hoping this is the last one, or else I’m going to have to take him somewhere new.
Connor also has his 15-month well-check coming up, where we expect he’ll be graduated from formula to whole milk (not that he has much interest in the bottle anymore).  And, we’ll be seeing his surgeon to talk about a hernia.
Busy. busy. busy!
IMG_6822.2February 5, 2010

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Brief Bits

A quick round-up of what I've found on the web this last while that got my creative juices flowin':

1.  From PB Teen - Wire Wall Letters
Two little nieces of mine received these as early birthday presents this week.  And I figured our kitchen (or office) needed one, too.  At $15, and FREE shipping... I couldn't pass them up!

2.  From Brown Paper Packages - Movie Night Fun... Concession Boxes
LOVE this idea for a Family Movie Night... how she encourages good behavior all week, so the kids can earn "money" towards concession stand goodies to be enjoyed during the movie.  Definitely an idea to file away in my future family ideas!

3.  From Vittles Divine - Sesame Chicken
My all-time favorite Chinese dish is Sesame Chicken.  Any new Chinese restaurant we visit is judged by me on how well they pull off this dish.  (House of Emperor is my new favorite!)  Megan posted this recipe, and has inspired me to try it for myself... looks delicious!!

4.  From Ohdeedoh - Fabric Photo Mat from a Pizza Box
Super easy tutorial posted on how to "freshen up" your framed photos with a little cardboard, glue and fabric.  Oh, the possibilities!

5.  From Sibling Craftery - Handprints on the Wall
Such a cute way to capture your kids' growth, and a fun (and inexpensive) family activity/decor idea.

6.  From Feed Your Soul: The Free Art Project - FREE Original Art Downloads
Take a minute to peruse these FREE images (download the PDFs and print yourself)... I think I fell in love with nearly all of them!  Some great pieces here for decorating a nursery, child's room, or anywhere in your home.

7.  From Bissinger's Confections - Gummy Pandas
I'm a sucker for anything fruity, chewy, and sweet... it's a bonus that these are all-natural and GOOD for you!  We picked up a couple of bags at Fox & Obel (a favorite downtown Chicago stop) over the weekend, and I'm having a really hard time savoring them slowly.

8.  From Just Something I Made - Vintage Measuring Tape Growth Chart: FREE Download!
This idea is a must-see... and the best part?  All you have to do is print it out and put it together.  I'm likely going to transfer from Connor's cutesy growth chart to this idea... one of these days!

9.  From Ohdeedoh - How to Make a Reusable Babysitting Info Board
I was a big-time babysitter as a teenager, and wish the moms I babysat for had used something like this.  In the "near future", when Connor has regular babysitters, I want to make up something like this. 

10.  From dialmformichelle - Breakfast Club Print
(Via Word to Your Mother.)  One of my all-time favorite movies... love this print, and for only $10, too!

11.  From NoraAndFinn - Bunny Hat
Oh, if Connor was still a bitty baby... I would be so tempted to get this little hat!

12.  From All Things Thrifty - TUTORIAL: Making a Pin-Tuck Pillow
If I don't end up making pillows like these (as seen in the last Brief Bits post) in our bedroom re-design, then likely these pretty pin-tuck pillows will be the winners.  So many choices!
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