Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gabriel's Birthday and a busy week

We've been so busy lately that I've barely had time to sit, let alone write a blog. By the end of the day I'm just ready for bed. On Sunday we had Gabriel's 1st birthday party. We had 19 people over. It was a full house, but I think things went pretty smooth. About half the people were kids. They played very nice too so that helped. Gabriel was fussy, he'd slammed his finger in the door the other day and his nail is still sensitive. He will probably eventually lose the nail, it's still oozing. He's also teething molars, plus he wanted a nap. He did finally nap up until it was time to eat. He still wasn't very amused with the birthday thing though.

He didn't want to stay in his chair for eating cake, so he sat on my lap and had a few little bites.
 He was more into opening presents, though with each one he wanted to play with it instead of move onto the next thing. A confusing concept!
 Dawson helped open gifts.
 The best part, a big bow
 He likes his hippo ball toy.
We've been watching my friend's son Bali a lot this week. On Sunday after the party, Megan started having shooting pains down her back and was very shakey. We drove her to town and her mom brought her into the ER so she could stay with her. She was admitted, so we kept Bali overnight. The boys all did great. He was happy to be with his baby, Gabriel. He is rather attached to him. Thankfully Megan was able to go home in the morning, and I gave her the day to rest and brought Bali back to her place in the evening when she was rested and feeling better. We went to the park before bringing him back. He was good and tired when we returned him.

Dawson was excited to be at the playground
 Gabriel and Bali both love the swing, and cuddling
 Dawson likes the sand.
 Monday morning we went to a playdate in honor of Tyler and Gabriel's birthdays. Tyler's got rescheduled, so we just decided to combine them. I had Bali that morning, and also picked up 2 of the girls to bring along too. These two are only a month apart and really enjoy having eachother around. Rain says she's going to marry Dawson, when she's older. We asked her how old and she says 5. She had found a play wedding dress and then ran to find Dawson, so of course I had to take pics.
 Dawson is so sweet, he often gives all his friends hugs and kisses on the cheek.
 Tuesday I took a break from other kids and decided I needed a nap. Gabriel usually naps in the afternoon so I figure I had until Dawson got home. Of course Gabriel decided not to nap until just before the bus came, so that left no time for a nap. Figures.

Today Megan texted me and said she has to drive her mom back to Iowa. Something came up and she had to get back. I offered to keep Bali here, since nobody enjoys a 10 hour round trip with a 2 year old. He was much happier playing with the boys and relaxing here. He easily fell asleep too. Everyone loves this bean bag. They were both laying on it watching cartoons this evening.
 Then Dawson decided to join them too.
 Gabriel is such a stinker. He likes teething on Bali's bottles, so he is often taking them away from him. Bali is too sweet and doesn't take them back either. A couple times Dawson went over and took the bottle away from Gabriel, told him "no Gabriel, that's Bali's bottle!", then gave Gabriel his sippy cup.
 Dawson has been mentioning Tyler more often now. Trying to figure out how to get him back. Often it is the plea that Tyler is cute. Now Dawson wants to fly to the sky to be with Tyler. If Tyler was able to do it, surely he should be able to as well, right? :(

I'm excited for Friday! I'm going to donate all these toys to the kid's cancer floor at Children's where Tyler was. It's my first time back there. No doubt it will be difficult, but it will feel good giving to the kids. We're also meeting a family while we are there. Siena was diagnosed with infant Leukemia at 10 months old and will be inpatient for a while. They live 3 miles too close for RMH and are in need of childcare. So we have offered to keep her with us until they are able to bring Siena home. If anyone wants to follow their journey, her caringbridge is  If anyone wants to donate some snacks or anything to their family, I'd love to be able to deliver some things to help them out. Just get them to me by friday. You can also paypal to with Siena in the title. They will be inpatient for quite a while and could use the help. The dad is back to work, but the mom is no longer able to work.
 I just hung these up today. The sign is by the entry closet and the frame is around the corner by the boy's room door. The sign says "Cherish every memory. Love every moment. Embrace every possibility." It was only $3 at Walmart and we need those uplifting reminders sometimes!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Busy Weekend

Thursday we had a great day! We had MOPS in the morning, so once Dawson's therapist got here, we left. I picked up a friend and her son on the way, they hadn't gone to MOPS anymore but I'm trying to introduce them to more fun things in the area. Gabriel was fussy, so he stayed with me the whole time. We had a great refreshing time. MOPS always leaves me refreshed. I got to talk to some moms and relax some.

After MOPS I dropped off my friend and brought her little guy home with us. Bali loves coming over and his mommy needed a break. We have ECFE together in the evening anyway, so Thursdays are perfect for bringing him home and just meeting back up with her in the evening. I also swung by and picked up 2 of the girls we babysit. Their mom is due with #5 in a couple weeks and she needed a break too. Dawson was super excited to have friends over. His social skills have been really improving. I'm seeing less behaviors and more sharing. So not only is it helping people, it is working on his much needed social skills! A win for everyone. :) 

Our day went so smooth. Most tell me I'm crazy for wanting 5 kids at my place, but it's fun! They play together and have a good time. I really didn't have any issues with them. Dawson went to school, Gabriel and Bali went down for a nap and the girls played nicely. I even got some cleaning done.

Dawson got off the bus and the kids were so excited. The 3 toddlers lined up at the door in awe as the school bus stopped and Dawson got off. The girls were excitedly talking about wanting to go to school. Then I thought maybe it would be fun to bring them to ECFE class with us! They'd all been so good all day. So I asked their mom and she said yes. Well, her words were actually "you're either crazy or a saint", which made me laugh.

As a kid I always wanted a house full of kids. As an adult I'm realizing that's just too expensive and crazy. I do like having a lot of kids around though, maybe I'm truly crazy. I'm pretty sure my sanity ditched me a long time ago! Other than having lots of fun, the biggest payoff is at the end of the day. Seeing both moms looking refreshed and more relaxed, saying what a nice calm day they had. It feels great to be helping other people, and that in turn is theraputic for me as well. We had so many people help us out, whether it be physical help, financial, all the wonderful people who left inspiring and supportive messages. I want to pay it forward and be the person that makes someone's day a bit better.

Friday was a down day. I didn't have much motivation. Dawson's teacher came for a meeting and told me Dawson has been struggling. He's been missing Tyler more lately. He says that Tyler is on the sun. Then when the sun is down he says Tyler is on the moon. This is a fairly new idea and it seems to be working. Autistic kids are very literal, they need to see something solid to understand. The sun and moon are solid, you can see them, but they are too far to go there. Perfect. So he is there and having lots of fun. It's something Dawson can look at each day. It seems to help him understand and gives him a place to know where Tyler is. He was watching tv on friday and out of the blue he said "Tyler is on the wind". He's never talked about wind, I wasn't even sure if he got the concept, but it was totally random and one of those things that seemed to me a message. I said "he's on the wind? In the air?" and he said without turning his head from the tv "uh huh", just matter-of-fact.

Friday evening I got some mom time. I hosted a Scentsy party for my friend and it was nice just talking and relaxing with them.

Today so far has been a little busy, but good. I sent a text to my friend to check up on her and she was having a tough morning and not feeling well. She may need surgery for an infection in her ear bone. So I offered to drive her to her chiropractor appointment this morning and watched Bali while she went in. We went to Target and got her some chocolate, took her back home and brought Bali back home with us so she can rest. He's happily playing. My boys are so used to having him here that all is calm. He just settles right in and plays. Gabriel loves having him around, they are getting to be good buddies. Sometimes I wish I could do more for people. If it was a child, they wouldn't make them go that long with a bad infection!

Gabriel's birthday party is tomorrow! I'm off to clean, make a cake and get things ready. Can't believe my baby is going to be a year already!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Busy Tuesday

Today we were out the door by 8:15am, all of us, which is very unusual. We went to the cities (90 min drive) to pick up a vehicle Dan got for his sister through his parents. Grabbed that and got back home before 11:30. The boys did pretty good, we brought the dvd player and some toys with. A couple stops to feed Gabriel and he was pretty happy.

We didn't get to stay home for long, we had ECFE class at 12:30, so we ate and left again just after noon. Had a great time in class. Gabriel was getting a bit fussy from being woke up early. I thought for sure he'd nap in the van, but he didn't! He did have fun though, he went in the swing and played in a tub of water. We brought Dawson to his classroom at 1 and he went fairly willingly thankfully. We had a nice chat with the moms in the group. We seperate for parent time and the kids (except Gabriel) stay in the class.

After class I took Bali (my friend's 2 year old boy) home with us. His mom has a really bad ear infection and was getting dizzy in class. I used to get really bad ear infections too and I remember clearly how horrible it was! So he got to come home with us so his mom could go home and get some rest. Something nobody gets to do with a 2 year old around. I got home and put them both down for a nap, which they both willingly cooperated and slept for nearly 2 hours! I even got to take a shower! Imagine that. I had planned on it earlier during my first short time at home, but then the maintenance guy said he was going to come and fix our carpet during that time, so I didn't want to take a shower if he was going to be showing up. Of course he didn't until an hour later when I was gone. Figures.

Dawson got home at 4:30 and we left at 4:45. Met someone in the Target parking lot from a kid's swap group (like craigslist) and got a bunch of summer things for Dawson. Then took the kids into Target for a few things. They were great! We had a runaway shopping cart with Gabriel inside, which was a slight heart attack, but all is well and nobody got hurt. I had the cart sideways against the slight incline, against the van so it couldn't move. While I was putting the other 2 in the van, Gabriel managed to shove the cart away from the van and it turned and took off down the hill. Thankfully I saw right away and managed to get out of the van and catch it before it got past the car next to us. Whew! Never a dull moment shopping with these kids it seems! I guess I'll be piling them all in the van, then doing the buckling from now on!

I always get some funny looks while running errands with the 3 kids. I have my blonde hair, blue eyed, pale skinned baby, and the dark curly haired, chocolate colored 2 year old. I just think it's amusing. This little guy is so adorable and I'm glad he likes us. He had a very tough life as a baby and has PTSD and most likely Autism, so he's one who must be handled with much sensitivity. He and Gabriel are rather attached. He gives Gabriel hugs and kisses and Gabriel follows him around. They were gone for a week to Iowa and I found Gabriel looking at a box of diapers. We have several diaper boxes and they each have a baby on them, but the one Gabriel kept going to looked a lot like Bali! I thought it was so cute that he was missing his buddy.

Speaking of buddies, the boys got to play with the girls today too! It was our date night, so we dropped them off and went to Applebees. We still have about 2 more suppers worth of gift cards to that place! So yummy. Gabriel took a nap at their place. His poor little buddy didn't get to play with him. He is a couple months older than Gabriel and so adorable! His dad told me that the little guy went in and was patting Gabriel on the back as he was falling asleep. So sweet! He's gonna be an awesome big brother in a month. :) 

Tomorrow morning we have Dawson's Autism Center team coming in for a meeting to discuss his progress and goals for the next 6 months. We're also renewing our lease tomorrow and Dan has a pre-interview test at Artic Cat, which is just down the road maybe 10 minutes away from us! Fingers crossed that he gets the job. I'm excited for it, the pay is good! He is nervous, but confident. Lots of things coming up in the next week! MOPS, ECFE, more babysitting, my Scentsy party, Gabriel's birthday party, it's going to be lots of busy crazy fun.

Yesterday was Dawson's first dentist appt. He did great and opened up wide for the first lady. He cooperated through the whole cleaning. The Dr came in and he was ready to be done. He bit the Dr a couple times so they decided on no x-rays, but his teeth look good. No cavaties! He must've swallowed everything they gave him though. They gave him the water and he swallowed before the suction. He was squirming and fussing on the way to the car but I figured he was just ready to be done. Then he threw up in the car on the road. Poor little guy. He was much better after that though and seemed relieved to have that stuff out of his belly. I took his carseat in and gave it a good cleaning. It sure needed it too! Crumbs and stickers under the padding. Managed to get the seat clean with no stains and it smells good too. I got some pics since the seat was in. Some people were wondering how much room he still has in his carseat. He has the Graco Nautilus. We love it! He's 42 pounds and 42 inches tall.
 This shows how much room he has left with the harness! He'll be in it for a while yet. :)  Good thing too, I have a booster for him as a spare and he's definitely not ready for it yet. He keeps putting the shoulder belt behind him and doesn't want to sit still. Not safe! So I'm glad that this will last him until he is older and more understanding of those things.
My view from the couch. I love all the natural light that comes in! It's so relaxing and mood lifting. Also makes the place seem bigger. We had no window in our living room at the other place and it felt like we were living in a cave. I don't like having lamps as our only light! And yes, we still have icicle lights on our window. We've been a bit slow at undecorating, especially those things we've been enjoying.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Haircuts and the Park

Gabriel got his first haircut today! He just needed a little trim. His hair was driving him nuts, it was curling up over his ears and he was always itching them. The back was tickling his neck too. We got to save his hair. I even got pics! He did great sitting still for about half the haircut, then he got wiggly. He did really good for his first time though! He seemed excited to sit in the chair. He's seen Dawson get haircuts before.
 Dawson got one too, his was getting pretty long too. He lost about half his hair today I think! It's nice and light now, just in time for the weather to warm up. He sat very well too. I can't remember how many haircuts he's had. He got his first haircut at about 2 1/2, but since then we've had it cut many times!
Afterward we went to the park. First time there this year. They were pretty excited. This is Gabriel's first real summer, since last summer was spent in the hospital. Then I realized this is only Dawson's 3rd real summer, and his 2nd that he's been old enough to enjoy playgrounds. We've spent 2 summers in the hospital. We continue to make the most of life. They played at the playground for 4 hours today. It was so gorgeous outside! The boys had a blast and were very tired and happy at the end of the day. I ended up taking 122 pics today. I may be a little obsessive! :) 

Gabriel was experimenting with the sun and the shade
 I love this sweet face! It was windy, so his hair was blowing to the side.
 He loved this swing! I thought this pic was too funny. He looks like a trapped baby, but I promise he was having fun! :)
 Leaves! We found some next to the playground.
 Dawson has conquered a new skill on the playground!
 The fireman's pole! Thankfully it's a fairly short one, but it's still scary for mommy to watch! I didn't know he could do that. He must've been practicing at school.
 Gabriel climbing up the steps.
 This park is by the Mississippi River, and right across from the hospital where the boys were born. That was actually the hardest part of my day. I was worried that going to the park where Tyler last played would be hard, but it wasn't too bad. The hardest part was seeing a life flight helicopter take off from the hospital, headed toward the cities. I felt bad for whoever might've gotten horrible news and had to be flown to Children's and I just couldn't stop the tears. We never had that experience, they actually let us drive him down, but most of the people I know had to have their child either driven by ambulance or flown to Children's. It's hard thinking of all the new people who have to be introduced to that life everyday.

Dawson enjoyed the water. He was very well behaved. I think the water is calming. We were down there for a while. Dawson was throwing rocks into the river. Gabriel was touching the water and exploring and I was taking pics and relaxing, watching my happy little boys enjoy the simple things.
 Very happy boy!

 Gabriel is getting better walking with just 1 hand for support. For short distances.
 Touching the water. So many new things to discover!
 Gabriel loved swinging. I sat on the ground to relax and he thought it was funny when he got close to me.

 Giggles are so contagious
 My sweet boys. They are very tuckered out and quickly fell asleep tonight! 4 hours on the playground makes for some very tired, happy boys.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Very Long Night and a Broken Toe

Last night was very tough. Dan had brought home McDonalds for a late supper. I gave Gabriel the beef from the hamburger. Dan and I had a burger as well. Dawson had chicken. Just before bed, Dan and I were having some stomach cramps. Didn't last long at all though. Gabriel started getting fussy too, which is when we put it all together. Dawson was fine. I try to give Gabriel meat to help with his iron, but this one backfired. He was up the entire night, tossing and turning, arching his back and crying in pain. I gave him gripe water to settle his tummy. I gave him a tiny bit of prune juice to try to help everything pass through faster. Tylenol for the pain. Nothing was touching this belly ache. He wanted nothing to do with laying flat. I finally just sat him on my stomach and propped him up with my legs, swaying him back and forth. Then he calmed down for a little while. Even almost fell asleep. He kept getting upset though, and what worked for a while didn't work anymore. We spent hours switching positions, rocking, holding, pacing. He didn't even want to nurse. Finally about an hour or 2 before we normally wake up, he fell asleep in our bed. Not long after, Dawson came running in wanting to cuddle. Gabriel woke up at the yelling, but thankfully went back to sleep quickly. Unfortunately mommy didn't get to go back to sleep.

Gabriel was up not long after that anyway. I layed there with him for a while and then he woke up and was up for the day. His stomach seemed to be better, but his cold and cough are still being persistant so he's still irritable and not feeling well. Thankfully he has a sweet (when he wants to be) big brother to give him kisses and cuddles.

Gabriel relaxing in the bean bag watching some Blue's Clues. He still has a slight fever off and on, so he seemed to like having no pants to keep him cool. Still has those big thighs! Brought him to the Dr yesterday and he weighed 23 pounds, 8 ounces at 11 1/2 months old.
 Cuddles from Dawson
 Kisses! I see a hint of a smile.
 Gabriel hasn't smiled much lately, but his brother seems to know just how to do it. :)

 They are so sweet!
At the Dr yesterday I also had an appt for my toe. It was getting more purple so I had it x-rayed. They said I definitely broke it, it's a big spiral fracture taking up most of 1 section of my toe. Thankfully it didn't go into the joints, so nothing further has to be done other than taping the toes together and taking it easy. My mom borrowed me her boot they gave her when she broke her toe. It's been nice to have today! My toe hurts way less just by keeping it more stable. I was stretching this morning and curled my toes without thinking and that hurt so bad! Dawson stepped on my foot today too, that didn't help. Hopefully it won't take too long to heal. My mom says it took her 6 weeks before she even stopped wearing the shoe. The weather is gorgeous today too, I'm really wanting to get outside and go for walks, and now I'm stuck limping. This is so frustrating! We're finally home for a summer and I've already sprained my ankle and broke a toe. The same foot too, which limping is making my ankle hurt again. I hate to complain, but this just sucks!

Tomorrow should be interesting. I'm watching the 4 toddlers again, only this time they all have ear infections and feel like crap. Their mom has a very long OB appt with a 45min drive, so they'll be here longer than usual as well. Hopefully the day will go as smooth as it can for having 5 whiny sick kids. They already had the same cold too, so at least we don't have to worry about spreading that. Hopefully my lap is big enough for all the cuddles tomorrow.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


This weekend has been tough. Being cooped up is not fun, especially when it's so nice outside! The snow has melted and I was itching to get outside. However, Gabriel is still feeling very crappy. Last night was bringing back memories of Tyler's last days before he went to the ICU to be sedated. Gabriel just wanted to cuddle, and he was so stuffed up that he wanted to be held upright. So as I cuddled him and held him upright I couldn't help but think of those awful days. I wish I'd known they would be my last days to hold him.

Today started out with a stuffy baby again. His cough sounds awful too and he looks at me with that totally miserable face and I wish I could do something. I did clear out his nose, which of course he thought was more torturous than helpful, but he did breathe a little better for a while after that. He did sleep all night thankfully. He had little interest in playing, he mostly lounged around and was my cuddle bug most of the day. He lounged in the bean bag chair a while too. He's had a low grade fever, but his chest still sounds clear. Hopefully it doesn't turn into anything else, that cough is such a rattly one!

I put him in the tub the other day to play and let the shower run against the wall. It did help clear him out a little bit. He liked playing in the tub for the most part, but was still pretty fussy. I love those wrinkly baby feet after a long bath!
 This picture reminds me so much of Tyler! He used to lay and watch this too. Gabriel loves watching the fish, especially when he isn't feeling so good. It's a calming thing.
 My poor miserable boy.
 Being the not-so-graceful person I am, I stubbed my toe really hard on a chair with metal legs. So my left pinkie toe is now about twice its normal size and there's a light bruise going from the base of the toe and into my foot. It still hurts a lot even 24 hours later. I was so excited to get out for a walk when we're feeling better too! Hopefully it doesn't set me back too much. I seem to be a bit injury-prone lately!
Last night I had another dream about Tyler. My 2nd one since he died. Last time he looked as he did when he died. This time he looked like he did at his best, before he relapsed. I knew he was gone and he would just appear places to walk with me. I picked him up and carried him for a while. People were looking at us funny because they knew he was gone and didn't understand. It just seemed to symbolize how it seems and was a nice reminder that he's always there with me. Was nice remembering how it felt to hold him, but also made me miss him so much.