Thursday, June 30, 2011

Health Update On Caleb J. . . .

So.  I haven't done a real medical update on Cabers in awhile.  And since he's had some significant appointments lately, I thought I'd document it in my journal. 

Caleb had his six month well-check appointment a little over a month ago, and everything looked great.  Growing and gaining weight is not a problem for him . . . that's an understatement!  He's in the 80-90 % for height and weight.  His head is pretty big - off the charts - which we could tell just by looking at him.  His pediatrician wants to keep an eye on it though, as it could signify brain swelling or other serious things.  We're thinking it's just hereditary since Ethan had the same situation as a baby (extra appointments for head measurements), and Anna and Benjamin also had exceptionally large heads.  hehe.  What can we say . . . that's just how we make 'em.  Super chubby.  Super big heads.  :)  With the other two, it all evened out in a couple years, and hopefully that's the case with Cabsie Pie too.  He's having an appointment later today to get his head measured, so we'll see how he looks.  Last thing about this appointment - Caleb's Pediatrician also requested a little follow up with a pediatric cardiologist, to address some concerns they had when he was in the NICU.  Everything looked totally fine with his heart.  Yay!   

On to Caleb's six month Developmental Clinic at the beginning of June.  Babies that spend considerable time in the NICU, or have certain health issues, often have a developmental clinic scheduled for six months to see how they're doing.  It's a 2-3 hour long appointment at the hospital, and you meet with multiple heath care workers - pediatric nurse, physical therapist, speech pathologist, Pediatrician Specialist.  I was so happy it was scheduled during Ethan's week off so we could both be there for it.  Caleb was right on with all the developmental checks.  Babies who are born prematurely are assessed based on their due date rather than their actual birth date.  Since Caleb was one month early, for his six month developmental clinic he was actually assessed as a five month old.  There are a few things the physical therapist wants us to help him along with, but really nothing major, or any "delays."  With the doctor, we spent the majority of the time discussing Caleb's large head. . . he even measured Ethan and my head to make sure it does run in the family.  Geesh.  :)

Okay, final major appointment - Pediatric Pulmonary Specialists in Ann Arbor.  We actually just got back from that appointment yesterday.  His lungs sounded good, and they thought he looked great.  They changed Caleb's medication to a longer lasting dose, and for long term use.  Also, instead of taking the medicine through a nebulizer, Caleb will be using an inhaler.  It's still twice a day, but instead of 10 minutes of breathing treatments, it will only take 1 minute of inhaler.  Yay!  They consistently refer to his symptoms (occasional wheezing and retraction breathing) as asthmatic symptoms (moderate to mild), and are treating it as that.  This is still something they expect he will grow out of in childhood, so not really anything has changed.  .  .  which is a good thing. So, although they wanted to change his medication for more long term use, they still thought he was doing well, and were especially pleased to hear that he only got sick once this season.  Apparently it was an especially bad RSV season that lasted longer than normal.  Way to go Caleb!  :)

As a side note, some things I was reminded of on our trip down state: 
1)  I really like my parents.  Of course I love them and appreciate them, but I also really like them.  So it was nice to spend this time with them - even though I live with is just busy - and have a long car ride to talk and hang out.  (I went down with my mom and dad because my dad had a work thing in Lansing at the same time.  Worked out perfectly.)   
2)  Caleb is such a good baby.  He's so happy and easy going and smiley! He was a good little traveler, and only had one short episode of crying in the car. . . which is pretty dang good considering we went down and back in a day and a half!  It seemed like Caleb could tell this was a special trip, and a rare ratio - three adults to one baby Caleb. And no noisy older siblings.  He was so cute!  :)   
3)  I can NOT share a hotel room with my parents ever again.  :)  A light sleeper + a loud sporadic snorer  + an all night cougher  = only about three hours of sleep for me.  Glad Caleb slept through it all like a champ.  Man, I got so desperately tired (especially since I'd gotten less than 6 hours of sleep the night before AND I can't sleep in a car) that I considered going down to the front desk at 2 in the morning and getting my own room.  Anyway, just a note to myself since it had apparently been awhile, but just so I don't make this mistake again - DO NOT SLEEP IN THE SAME ROOM AS THE PARENTS!  hehe. 

Okay, just to make this long post a little longer;  here are a few general updates about my seven month old baby Caleb:  *He is rolling around, almost sitting up...he still needs a little help :), and when he's on his tummy, he scoots and rolls and moves all over.  (All of our kids were a little slower in the physical development stuff . . . could it be due to their large noggins and extreme chub? hehe. They were never "delayed" in the developmental milestones, but they were certainly not ahead of the pack.  And the same is true with Cabers.)  *Especially since Caleb is our last . . . we're in no rush for him to grow up and do all the physical stuff . . . 'cause he'll get there. Ethan and I actually really like this about our kiddies because they're more easily contained the less mobile they are, AND it makes them seem like babies longer.  :)  *Caleb is such an interactive little guy.  He loves smiling at people and interacting with them.  When doctors and nurses have tried to distract Caleb with a toy, he will  often keep looking right at them instead.  He loves attention from his big brother and sister, and smiles and laughs at them all the time.  *Caleb is such a good little sleeper.  He takes two to three naps a day, and goes to sleep for the night around 7:30 or 8pm.  He doesn't wake up until around 8-8:30am.  He still gets up around 6am to drink a quick bottle, but then goes right back to sleep.  *We finally started Caleb on baby cereal and baby food, over a month ago.  No surprise, but he likes it.  A lot.  We aren't very regular about it, so he is still getting most of his nutrients from his bottles, but again, we're in no rush with the feeding thing either, and did the same with Anna and Benjamin.  *I love Caleb's big smile, chubby dimpled cheeks, and bright blue eyes.  They light up a room and attract tons of admirers to him.  *Cabers is a pretty quiet baby - rarely cries, and is easily soothed if something is wrong.  He only occasionally does the baby squealing thing, even his laugh is pretty quiet and sweet. . . a deep chuckle.  Mostly he likes to sit and observe and take in the world around him. One noise Caleb does seem to make more and more is the "raspberry" sound with his lips.  Pretty cute.  *He loves songs, especially ones with hand motions, and he loves to play peek-a-boo.  He loves putting everything in his mouth and one of his favorite "toys" right now is my cell phone.  Typical.  *Alright, I think these are enough updates for now, hehe.  We just love our little babers.  We feel so blessed that Caleb was sent to our family.  He's such a sweetie, snuggly, little man.  We are loving watching him grow and develop and get stronger and healthier every day.  

Have a fun Fourth everyone!            

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Father's Day, Family, and Farm Animals . . .

Sweet Daddy Time pictures, that turned into  . . .

a smooching fest . . . which quickly turned into a tickling party . . .

until Ethan has to protect the baby from the tickling monsters . . .

Because he's just so little and helpless.  hehe.  Just look at that sweet, squishy baby face. . . don't you just want to smooch it and pinch it?!  Love. 

First of all, Father's Day.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  Ethan is such an amazing Daddy.  He's a natural.  Anna, Benjamin, and Caleb are so lucky to have such a fun, kind, silly, smart, hands-on, faithful, energetic Daddy.  He does it all, people.  And so, I am also lucky (blessed) to have such an amazing Daddy to my kiddies.  I love him so much.  

And for my own daddy - living with my parent's these past 10 months has been such a blessing, as I've mentioned many times before, and will many times after this.  There have been little ups and downs, but mostly ups.  There have been lots of good, fun, funny memories.  The relationship my mom and dad have with my children is so unique and special right now.  They interact so much, and love each other so much.  And although we only plan on staying with them a little longer, I hope we will all be able remember this unique time, and my kids will always feel close to my parents.  SO, I love and appreciate my dad for many reasons.  But I think most of all - lately - I love him and appreciate him as a Grandpa to my babies.  So much.  He is such a good Grandpa, and that has been even more evident during our time staying in his house.   Cooking eggs with Ben-Ben, night-night songs, playing with Caleb (Cabers LOVES my dad, and my dad LOVES Caleb J. . . it's pretty sweet to watch), daily compliments for sweet Anna, and he's even changed diapers and helped with potty time.  Wow.  Thanks dad!  You are a natural at being a Grampa, and my kids love you so much!     

Also, a quick shout out to my older brother Andrew.  He celebrated Father's Day for the first time this week as a new dad (and his 32nd birthday).  It has been sweet seeing Andrew be a daddy to baby Hudson.  He is doing such a wonderful job. . . .warms my heart.  :)     

Next up, Family.  (I don't have the time to mention everyone right now, but know that you're loved!)  We have been especially grateful for all of our family lately.  My kids love their family, and it has been great living so close to all of them for this year, especially since we still don't know where we will end up after Ethan graduates in August.  The first picture above is from a tea party cousin Rebecca planned for Anna and Benjamin a few weeks ago.  She is so sweet with them, and they love her.  And they love going to Auntie Beth and Uncle Stuart's house.  (Anna often asks Ethan if he can make her a play set like Uncle Stuart made.  hehe.)  My sister Beth and I try to get together about once a week or so just to chat, catch up, and sometimes have lunch.  Love my sister time!  (And we've recently resumed playing doubles tennis - after a two year hiatus - with Stuart and Ethan . . . so fun!)
The second picture shows Uncle Joe helping feed Caleb his first bites of baby food (a few weeks ago).  They both look very in to the whole experience.  Ashley and Joe are getting married in August, and then Joe will officially be Uncle Joe, although he's been called that for almost two years already.  My kids love him, especially Ben-Ben.  Joe and Benjamin have recently started having occasional "guy time" together, and Ben just loves it. . . he's even trying to plan a slumber party.  hehe.  Speaking of, Anna has a few slumber parties of her own in the works, with her Aunties - which is why Ben-Ben wanted one of his own - we just told her she had to wait til summer.

"Gramma Time" with Gramma Lissa has been a popular activity lately for Anna and Benjamin.  They take turns, so they can get some one on one time with their Gramma.  I think Ethan started calling it "Gramma Time," because he'd always call his mom to set it up.  Funny thing, during Benjamin's Gramma time last week, Grampa Chuck tried to entertain him a bit, but Ben-Ben would have none of it, "Where's Gramma?  I don't want to be with you, I'm supposed to be with Gramma."  Geesh, we'll have to start calling it something else so Benjamin knows it's okay to spend time with his Gramma and Grampa and Auntie KC too.  Silly boy.  

These three pictures above show a few "projects" my mom did with the kids.  She is always up with making messes, and doing projects . . . something I'm not always as great about doing lately.  (We love the HOW ARE YOU PEELING book we checked out from the library.  So fun.)  So, no pictures of Gramma Suse, but her influence is always around.    

And finally, Farm Animals.  We were at Econo (Grocery Store) the other Saturday, and they had a little petting zoo set up.  Random.  The kids, of course, loved it.  I stayed out there with them the whole time while Ethan got our groceries.  I thought it'd be a good opportunity to explain, again, about which foods we get from those animals.  But Benjamin and Anna just wanted to focus on petting them, and feeding them hay.  There were two big cows, a baby cow, a baby sheep, and a big, fat piggy.  They should do that more often!  Not that we typically grocery shop as a whole family.   

Okay, enough of my randomness.  Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Anna's Big Week . . .

Last week was the last week of school, and Anna had a few big events. Like, Kindergarten Graduation!  Above, Anna is getting her "diploma" from Mrs. Longton.  Man, she's growing up so fast.  And this is a graduation for "Young Fives" kindergarten which means Anna will be in regular Kindergarten next year, since she has a late birthday.  I'm glad she got in to this program, for so many reasons, but mainly because I think it will keep her "younger" longer.  I am in no rush to see my kids grow up!  :) 

So, I went to the graduation thinking it was all a little silly . . . that our society really celebrates every little thing in life.  I still think that's true, but I was surprised that I got emotional and a little teary eyed during the ceremony.  It's hard to see your kids grow up.  Good, but hard.  I could tell Anna thought it was so special and important.  Also, I LOVED the teacher Anna had this year, and seeing Mindy get choked up about saying good bye to the kids was touching to me as well.     
 Sweetie Benjamin giving Anna a hug and an animated, "You graduated!" while baby Caleb looks on.  Love that all three of Ethan's sisters, Anna's Aunties, were able to make it.  And finally, Anna with Gramma Suse.  How would Anna have made it through this school year without her?!  hehe.

 This first shot shows how Benjamin occupied himself during the graduation ceremony.  Pretend food and pretend cooking.  Typical.  And the second one shows the whole group that was there (including Caleb, but you can only see his feet).  The note said to invite anyone the kids wanted - grandparents, aunts, uncles, close family friends, etc.  Anna had the biggest turn out, and we didn't even tell all the fam about it.  What a lucky girl!  :)  And Grampa Dewey took us out to Border Grill after for a little celebratory lunch.  Yummmm.   

I loved looking through the memory book Anna's teacher put together.  It showed work from the beginning of the year, compared to the end of the year (and had lots of fun pictures of all the kids).  Anna learned so much during the school year!  She went in not quite knowing all of her letters, especially lower case, and now she is in the beginning stages of reading!  Anna sounds out words, and short sentences all the time.  Wow . . .   

Anna also had a dance recital that week, including a few long pracitices, and two performances. The picture above shows the dance recital practice on Saturday morning.  This is the grand finale number at the end. . . hence all the dancers up there, and not everyone in full costume.  Anna had a fantastic teacher, Miss Kristen, and a great experience in her ballet class.  
 Anna with her cousin Rebecca, who was also in the recital.  Rebecca did a ballet number as well, and did beautifully!  And they happened to have similar styles in costume, fun.  I was glad Rebecca was there at all the practices and performances because they were LONG.  And although they had supervisors, Anna is only five, and it would have made me nervous if Becca wasn't there too.  Thanks for keeping an eye on her!  :)  The second picture shows Grampa Dewey giving Anna some flowers after her performance.  She was so excited about that.  AND, she got flowers at her Sunday performance too, from Grampa Chuck. 
 Cutie pie. 
Anna doing some posing after we got her all ready for the show on Saturday evening.  (Minus her ballet slippers.)  Don't look too closely at her make-up . . . I had NO idea what I was doing, but the directions were very specific on what she should wear for stage make-up.  :)  Her bun was a big improvement from when I did it for her pictures, but all of this stuff really isn't my strong suit. 

Most importantly, Anna had fun.  She loved performing and was SO ADORABLE.  Anna thought the whole experience was special and really "took to the stage."  She thought it was especially exciting that she got to stay up until 10:30pm on Saturday night!  Three hours past her bedtime.  I love that Anna was able to take ballet this year, and have the whole experience.  She may be on to other interests next year, but this experience will always be such a great, precious memory!  Good job, little Anna!!!

Now, on to enjoying the summer! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Pictures! . . .

So, here are the pictures that go along with the following post.  (The ones I couldn't figure out how to get on here last night.)  They include a few of the high lights from our awesomely awesome week.  hehe.  Like . . .


 Love the picture of Anna running out of the freezing water above!  And the ones below of the kids buried in the sand crack me up.  Ben-Ben would only let us bury him to his knees. 

Feeding Baby Caleb J.!

 He had quite the audience. . . and lots of help from his big brother and big sister.  His first taste of baby food was rice cereal . . . nothing too exciting.  Caleb was really interested, but wanted to feed himself.

And Hiking Sugar Loaf Mountain!

 It was super windy at the top, as you can see from Anna's hair in the first pic.  Also, notice the third pic above . . . it's of Ben-Ben giving me a smooch on the cheek.  I just didn't take the shot at quite the right time.  Darn.  :)
We had a picnic at the top . . . at the insistence of Ben-Ben.  Now he calls the top, the "food place."  Oh, and Anna is carrying Ethan's empty diet coke bottle around to use as a "club" in case she saw any wild animals.  We didn't have the heart to tell her that it would help her in no way to have that little plastic bottle.   

 So, enjoy the pictures.  And, if you're interested in reading about the rest of the week, scroll on down to the next post.  Have a beautiful week!